implementation will be done in parallel, rather than sequentially. The goal is for the conceptualization, design, and production of products and services to be as concurrent as possible to reduce time-to-market, encourage innovation, and improve quality. Concurrent manufacturing enterprises will consider product support, including delivery, servicing, and end-of-life disposition (recycling, reuse, or disposal), during the design and production phases. All aspects of manufacturing will be networked so that informed decisions concerning one activity can be made based on knowledge and experience from all aspects of the enterprise. Feedback during the lifetime of products and services will be continuous.

Concurrent manufacturing will revolutionize the ways people interact at all levels of an organization. "Teamwork" is the word used to describe these interactions, but it may not accurately describe the relationships of the future. Interactive computer networks will link workers in all aspects of the business. New social relationships and communication skills will be necessary, as well as a new corporate culture in which success will require not only expertise and experience, but also the ability to use knowledge quickly and effectively.

Concurrency will drastically shorten the time between the conception of a product and its realization. For example:

  • Consumer products that now take six to nine months to reach the market will be delivered to customers within weeks of conceptualization.
  • Large products that are combinations of mechanical structures and electronics that now take years to develop will be put into service within months.
  • Microprocessor design will be reduced to a two-month cycle supported by flexible fabrication facilities that can produce new designs in a month.
  • Composite and synthetic materials will be available almost immediately after their properties have been specified for product applications.

Many competitive pressures will force the reduction of time-to-market:

  • Market opportunities will arise and disappear quickly.
  • Lot sizes or batch sizes will be small as customers demand products and services tailored to meet their individual needs.
  • Rapid changes in available technologies will cause rapid changes in products and reductions in production costs.
  • Competitors from all parts of the world will enter and exit markets rapidly as opportunities emerge and fade.

Concurrency is a natural response to the corporate enterprises envisioned in Chapter 1, in which core competencies and knowledge of different segments of the extended enterprise will be dynamically combined to meet specific, narrowly defined market opportunities. Accurate estimates, optimization, and tracking of product costs and revenues will greatly reduce financial risks.

Concurrent manufacturing is a grand challenge that will require not only

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