Systems Engineering, 5 Key Takeaways

Part three of our systems engineering series concentrates on the key takeaways from a recent Aberdeen report.

A systems engineering approach is best when companies deal in a multi-disciplinary environment (electrical, mechanical, & software systems) where ever-increasing complexities weigh heavy on effective product development.

The starting point for system engineering initiatives lies with identifying customer needs and making them traceable throughout the development cycle.

Best-in-class companies working successfully with a systems engineering approach include Boeing, Continental AG, TRW to name but a few, and span industries like medical devices, high-tech and electronics and automotive.

According to Aberdeen, companies embarking on such an approach should seriously consider having initiatives in place to:

1. Improve systems engineering practices. As the competitive environment increases companies need to be constantly on the lookout for new ways to stay on top. Considering 90 percent of innovation in the auto industry alone can be linked to embedded software, companies have the opportunity to increase their competitive edge and profitability by improving their systems engineering practices.

2. Reuse code. Companies need to implement processes that allow for the reuse of code in new products. Reusing code has the effect of reducing time to market.

3. Focus on customer needs and requirements management. It is quite simple; placing the customer requirements at the center of development and managing those requirements successfully is critical to the overall success of the product and meeting revenue targets – customer satisfaction is on a high. When the end product meets the original requirements, success can be measured with increased demand and revenues.

4. Ensure requirements management supports traceability. Lack of traceability leads to delays in market release with increases product cost, reduces quality and degrades customer satisfaction.

5. Rely on a technology solution that improves efficiency and supports a multi-discipline development team. This will give the organization an outlet to aid collaboration across a global team. Such systems will speed time-to-market but also be cognizant of cultural resistance to change.

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