A framework supporting the collaboration between the logistics- and the product development process
Abstract: In the competitive environment of today’s global markets, the demands of customers are increasing. They expect to get the best product at the lowest price with immediate availability. Logistics, including transportation, inventory maintenance, order processing, purchasing, warehousing, materials handling, packaging, customer service standards, and product scheduling must continuously be developed to meet the challenges of the market. The globalization, with longer distances to customers and suppliers, and the progressing trend of outsourcing are examples of why the importance of logistics has increased over the last few years.A considerable part of the final product cost is frozen during the early product development phases. In the early phases of the product development process, the cost of making design changes is low compared to making changes later in the product development process. The product development decisions made in the early phases of the product development process have considerable impact on future manufacturing and logistics activities as well.The objective of this research project is to develop a framework supporting the collaboration between the logistics- and the product development process. To do this, it has been essential to analyze which parameters influence the efficiency of the logistics process and the interface between the logistics- and the product development process. Also, to investigate how the logistics department can be integrated earlier in the product development process has been of interest. This has been done through both a theoretical review and also through a number of case studies.The result and conclusion of this project is a framework that gives support for what to focus on, how to collaborate, in which phases collaboration is meaningful, and which persons need to be involved in the different product development phases. Working as the framework suggests will, hopefully, give closer collaboration between the logistics- and the product development process than without this supportive framework. The expectation of the collaboration is an earlier integration of the logistics department in the product development process and through this influence and increase the efficiency of the logistics process.
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