Ton de Kok

Concurrent engineering in high-tech: supply chain mock-ups

12:00 – 12:30

It is common knowledge that the majority of costs in the product-life cycle are determined during the design phase, while the majority of costs are made during the production phase. In the 1980s this observation has led to the concept of concurrent engineering. Many companies introduced ways of working under the heading of Design for X, where X could be assembly, production, or some other business function that would benefit from early involvement in the design process. Despite the success of various concurrent engineering concepts, these concepts are primarily structuring the relationships between design choices on the one hand, and implied efforts and costs in the production phase on the other hand. The tension between product capabilities to serve various market segments and product diversity as a cost driver was only assessed by applying implicit tacit knowledge, yielding guesstimates of costs and benefits. Similarly, the tension between costs of flexibility and the benefit of responsiveness was mostly addressed by assumptions and vision.

In this presentation we discuss developments on quantitative modelling that allow to address the aforementioned tensions in the design phase. Quantitative models are capable of creating a mock-up of the supply chain and the transformation processes executed in the subsequent stages of the supply chain. Two decades of industry-university collaboration has proven the empirical validity of the models developed. The next step to take is to apply them routinely during the design phase.

Ton de Kok holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Free University in Amsterdam. He was an operations research consultant at Philips Electronics from 1985-1990, and logistics innovation manager of Philips Consumer Electronics from 1990-1992. Since 1992 he is a full professor at the School of Industrial Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology. His research interests cover supply chain management, production management, and transportation management. His research results have been implemented at a wide range of companies. He is co-founder of Chainstock, a start-up company supporting companies to optimize their supply chains.

Ton de Kok

TU Eindhoven