Simultaneous engineering

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Simultaneous Engineering (in American: Concurrent Engineering , in German: "distributed simultaneous development") describes a procedure in product development . This shortens the development time of a new product, later production-induced changes are avoided and the coordination of development and production is improved overall.

The basic concept of the process is the temporal overlap of traditionally successive work processes. As soon as enough information has been gathered in one workflow, the next workflow is started in parallel. This sometimes leads to additional work, since the final information status is not used, but the working basis can change at any time. However, errors can be recognized more quickly and eliminated in good time before they cause high costs in a later phase (see picture).

Simultaneous engineering

Simultaneous engineering (SE) between the product development and production (resource) planning workflows is particularly beneficial:

Traditionally, product development and production planning are two strictly separate steps that follow one another. First, the new product is designed and completely worked out (see construction process ). Then the planning of the production facilities with which this product can be manufactured begins .

When using simultaneous engineering, production planning starts earlier. As soon as preliminary versions of the product have been worked out, planning for their production will begin. The development continues in parallel.

While both departments continue to work in their respective areas, there is a constant exchange of information. Changes to the design must be incorporated into the planning of the equipment . On the other hand, problems or optimization possibilities in production can result in a change in the design .

The advantage of this approach is that it saves time because the production options and costs have already been checked and the means of production have already been partially planned when the product is fully developed. One also speaks of the SE paradox , because each process step takes longer, but the sum of the process steps is again shorter than in the conventional process. This is due to the parallelization of process steps already described.

Another important aspect is the early detection of construction-related production problems:

The earlier a design change is made, the lower the costs are usually. The worst case scenario with the traditional approach can be: The product is completely finished, but cannot be manufactured. So it has to be redesigned. Simultaneous engineering helps to postpone such findings and the resulting changes to an earlier point in time.

Success stories

The European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC) achieved by setting up a simultaneous engineering environment, a reduction of input trials of six to nine months to three to six weeks, to reduce costs by 50 percent and increased quality of their mission designs .


  • Bullinger, Hans-Jörg (ed.); Warschat, Joachim: Research and development management: simultaneous engineering, project management, product planning, rapid product development . Stuttgart: Teubner, 1997, ISBN 3-519-06370-0 .
  • Ehrlenspiel, Klaus; Meerkamm, Harald: Integrated product development - thought processes, use of methods, cooperation . 6th revised and expanded edition, Hanser, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-446-44089-0 .
  • Fine, Charles; Lamerz-Beckschäfer, Birgit (translator): Clockspeed: how companies can react quickly to market changes. Hamburg: Hoffmann and Campe, 1997, ISBN 3-455-11264-1 .
  • Loureiro, Geilson; Curran, Richard: Goldaming: Springer London, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84628-975-0 .

Individual evidence

  1. Adrian RL Tatnall: Space Systems Engineering. Concurrent engineering . In: Thomas Uhlig et al. (Ed.): Spacecraft Operations . Springer, Vienna / Heidelberg / New York / Dordrecht / London 2015, ISBN 978-3-7091-1802-3 .