Infosys series examines benefits of collaborative engineering

Fremont: Infosys Technologies (www.infosys.com), a leading provider of IT consulting, software and engineering services, recently conducted a seminar for senior manufacturing and product development executives entitled 'Collaborative Product Engineering: Making the Partnership Work.'

This distinctive forum, designed by Infosys as part of a series called the Collaborative Engineering Network (CENet), featured discussions on the fundamentals of collaborative engineering, such as strategies for partner selection, how to maintain effective relationships and practical examples of recent collaborative experiences.

Presentations at the inaugural event, a breakfast session in Detroit, were led by Deepak Dighe, director of engineering outsourcing programmes for Johnson Controls Inc, and Joel Brown, manager of CAD / CAE / TEST development engineering, interior / exterior systems product development for Visteon Corp, both experts on offshore work within the industry.

Discussions were centred on the successes and challenges of applying collaborative engineering practices between domestic and offshore partners to significantly compress product development cycle time and reduce product development costs by leveraging available resources worldwide.

“Dighe and Brown provided valuable insight and examples of their experiences in maximising engineering resources that will be helpful to my organisation in setting our future strategic direction,“ said seminar attendee Dave Sakata, vice-president of technology, sealing products for Freudenberg-NOK. “Breaking down product development activities in order to decide how resources can be utilised according to their level of importance and / or complexity is a good way to look at possibilities for collaboration.“

The presentations inspired discussions and questions on various aspects of outsourcing including selecting an offshore partner, language and cultural barriers and key elements for successful outsourcing in order to maximise the value and benefits of collaborative engineering. Yet as real-world initiatives were considered, the participants voiced their concerns about control.

“One topic that came up was that companies worry about maintaining control over projects when they begin collaborative engineering efforts,“ explained Srinath Kashyap, group client relationship manager for Infosys. “The seminar helped participants realise that when considering this approach, several factors must first be taken into account. If important questions are answered before launching the partnership — such as what practices to adopt to deal with geographically dispersed teams, integrate internal and external teams and benefit from a collaborative partnership without compromising quality — control of projects should not be an issue for concern.

“Having been given such ideas and questions to contemplate among themselves and within their organisations, almost all of the seminar participants requested more information on collaborative engineering from Infosys and indicated interest in attending future CENet events.“