4.2. THE INTEGRATED DESIGN CAPABILITY
By now, it has become obvious that companies that want to deploy new product
development processes in support of their competitive position might consider
investing in an Integrated Design Capability that supports a fast-cycle design
process. This Integrated Design Capability ‘fuses’ organisational
approaches (traditional and experiential project structures, competence versus
project organisation in the innovation matrix), design methodologies (such as
Quality Function Deployment, Value Analysis, DesignForAll methods, Product Life
Cycle Assessment) and the aforementioned design technologies into one consistent
support infrastructure for the company’s new product design and development
process. This integration, of course, implies a serious investment and hence,
becomes a strategic decision for the organisation. It also implies a clear strategic
choice toward which market segments and application areas the company decides
to turn its innovation attention. This is mainly because investments in design
technologies are not fully application-independent, as illustrated by the arguments
and discussions in the previous sections.
To this end, for example, the Dutch steel and aluminum company, Koninklijke Hoogovens
(now part of Corus Group), has developed two Integrated Design Centres in the
1990s: the Centre for Packaging Technology and the Centre for Product Applications
in Transport and Building Applications. Each of these centres creates and sustains
an environment in which appropriate organisational approaches, combined with
a set of design methods and techniques, are geared toward an effective and efﬁcient
new product design process for speciﬁc product-market combinations (e.g.
packaging solutions, construction applications, automotive parts).