How do knowledge systems support new product development?
Much has been written about knowledge-based engineering (KBE) systems and the role they play in new product development. Some speculate that these systems only automate the task of creating product iterations by using a rule-based repository as a starting point versus a blank sheet of paper. Rather than promoting innovation, they force design engineers into using existing data and don’t allow for the freedom of creative thinking. Others state that these systems propagate innovation by automating routine work that goes into design engineering and engineering process management, therefore allowing more time for creative work, which is the fuel of innovation. To maximize the benefit of this automation, the knowledge rules have to be closely embedded into the product development system. Stand-alone KBE solutions restrict the ability to adapt designs while ensuring adherence to product rules. Taking this approach, companies can devote more time to identifying real market problems, or requir