Ants' behavior leads to new method for optimizing product development time, costs

Jan 29, 2013

Trying to find just the right balance of time spent in meetings and time performing tasks is a tough problem for managers, but a Wayne State University researcher believes the behavior of ants may provide a useful lesson on how to do it.

Using derived from the characteristics of ants seeking food, Kai Yang, Ph.D., professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, has developed a -based methodology to estimate the optimal amount of time spent to develop a product, as well as the cost, in overlapped product development. It is the latest in a series of projects he has worked on for Siemens North America.

"Non-discrete Optimisation (NdACO) to Optimise the Development Cycle Time and Cost in Overlapped Product Development," published recently in the International Journal of Production Research, utilizes the concept of concurrent engineering (CE), a systematic approach to product development based on parallel execution of tasks. The approach integrates several functions to reduce the development time and cost of a product while maintaining its quality. Co-authors include Satish Tyagi, Wayne State research assistant, and Anoop Verma, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa.

In CE, cross-functional teams communicate through several meetings, some before the beginning of project, categorized as precommunication, and some during execution of the project, called communication policy.

Because significant cost is incurred through those meetings, Yang said, it is necessary to investigate the cost-time trade-offs involved in the concurrent product development process to enhance . Otherwise, applying the process can result in a larger number of iterations, or rework, adding to both time and cost.

"Currently, there is a lack of communication flow within organizations due to their large size, time differences, etc.," Yang said. "Therefore, the amount of precommunication and communication policy and the extent of overlapping stages should be meticulously determined to achieve the desired goals."

As moves forward, lack of communication from upstream decision-makers to downstream workers can leave the latter to operate without the latest available information to complete their task efficiently, he said.

Researchers studying ants' food-foraging behavior have noticed that changes in the pheromone trails left behind by the insects communicate the best ways for those that come after them to proceed. That led to the development of ant colony optimization (ACO) models, which Yang and his team are using.

Researchers believe their simulation model could reduce product definition time by as much as 50 percent, and lead to best practices that improve critical thinking and remove communication barriers. Such practices can be applied to large-sector manufacturing, health care and service companies, Yang said.

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dschlink
not rated yet Jan 29, 2013
???
VendicarE
not rated yet Jan 29, 2013
The Fate of America as told by Ants...

http://www.youtub...hQcqiGQc
full_disclosure
1 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2013
The 'Coward Herr Vendicar' has childishly changed his personal login profile, slightly, to avoid people following his name back through past comments..... Anyone interested in his cowardly death threats towards posters in the past comments section, follow them through the link below. http://phys.org/p...ndicarD/
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2013
THis examination of communication latency tells us what we already know; if ya want something done right - do it yourself.
full_disclosure
1 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2013

Link fixed....just check out the 'Green Murder Porn' this guy wanks to....

http://phys.org/p...ndicarD/
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2013
This guy hasn't discovered anything new.

These difficulties with communication quality, timing, and implementation have long been recognised and understood. And they arise out of the natural variability in individuals' to understand and make themselves understood.

People aren't ants.

Nice job this guy did getting paid money to conduct superfluous research in an already well-studied area and present findings with pretty much zero application in the real world.

But that won't stop some corporate bootlick from trying to IMPOSE these principles upon and within some ill-starred organization.

Then, instead of being "Taylorized", employees falling victim to this misguided and misconceived process can start saying that they have been "Yanged".

This clown's research will lead to incalculable harm being inflicted upon workers.
ROBTHEGOB
2 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2013
Nothing new under the sun. You have your overseers and your disposable worker ants. Same 'ol same 'ol.

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