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Strategies for changing forms of organization

The amount of progress being made in transitioning from a sequential development to a mechatronic configuration process can be evaluated based on three criteria:

These three criteria yield a cube that illustrates the status of the transition. The most marked effects (streamlining, quality, etc.) are achieved when the cube is filled (goal), i.e. when employees from all disciplines and phases in the life cycle of every machine and plant are developing, distributing, manufacturing, etc. on a mechatronic basis.

One closely related approach is the global strategy. This involves introducing a mechatronic development process globally, i.e. for all disciplines, for entire machines and plants, and continuously for all life-cycle phases, from analysis to productive use. In day-to-day business, however, this procedure is only partially suitable for the following reasons:

One alternative procedure is the germ cell strategy. As a result of problems arising from the global strategy, a mechatronic development process is initially designed and implemented for a limited area only. An area that is expected to achieve the fastest results is designated as a germ cell. This germ cell is expanded on an iterative basis. The germ cell strategy offers the following advantages with regard to the aforementioned problems inherent to the global strategy:

Consequently, the germ cell strategy is generally preferable to the global strategy.

A crucial task for companies facing the transition to a mechatronic development process is to designate both a suitable germ cell and a procedure by which it can be gradually expanded. In addition to technical and economic framework conditions, this task should also take ‘interpersonal aspects’ into consideration.