Studying how to make products and services more competitive through design is essential in a global market Cranfield is an internationally leading research centre in competitive design of products, services and product-service systems. Research is sponsored by a number of leading manufacturing organisations such as BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Corus, BOC Edwards, Ford Motor Company, Nissan European Technology Centre, Fiat Research Centre, Lotus Cars and Bentley.
The competitive design research within the Decision Engineering Centre provides facts, techniques and infrastructure for the design. The research identifies drivers for the competition and develops approaches to achieve significant improvement in competitiveness of a product, service or product-service systems. Our focus is on four areas of competitive design:
- cost of a design
- design optimisation
- design information management
- innovation and creativity.
Competitive design research starts with a better understanding of the true cost of a product or service from whole life perspective. Research focuses on improving the cost prediction even at the early stage of the design process. The cost engineering study also improves cost awareness among engineers to improve the value of a product. The knowledge about the true cost and value of a product, service or product-service systems helps to position the solution better against the market competition and can make the solution more affordable. Significant change in competitiveness is achieved through a combination of the knowledge, creativity and innovation.
Design optimisation is a technique that uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based tools to design the best solution for a given set of requirements. Use of design optimisation techniques can make an existing product or service more competitive or design a very novel product, service or product-service systems. The research uses state-of-the-art “Soft Computing”, GRID and computer aided analysis technologies for the design of products and service processes. The study integrates numerical design evaluation techniques with qualitative evaluation for better understanding of the design performance. Applied Soft Computing brings digital innovation for the competitive design.
Design information management provides an ICT based infrastructure to share data, information and knowledge for competitive design. The research looks at re-use of design, manufacturing and maintenance knowledge at the early stage of the design process. The study focuses on developing ontological representation of knowledge, uses standard languages for the knowledge share and as a result improves efficiency of the design. One of the major aspects of this research is to develop lean approaches for the product and service development and therefore significantly improve efficiency of the design process. Visit the Decision Engineering Centre.