A strategic planning methodology for aircraft redesign
Romli, Fairuz Izzuddin
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Due to a progressive market shift to a customer-driven environment, the influence of engineering changes on the product's market success is becoming more prominent. This situation affects many long lead-time product industries including aircraft manufacturing. Derivative development has been the key strategy for many aircraft manufacturers to survive the competitive market and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Within this environment of design adaptation and variation, the main market advantages are often gained by the fastest aircraft manufacturers to develop and produce their range of market offerings without any costly mistakes. This realization creates an emphasis on the efficiency of the redesign process, particularly on the handling of engineering changes. However, most activities involved in the redesign process are supported either inefficiently or not at all by the current design methods and tools, primarily because they have been mostly developed to improve original product development. In view of this, the main goal of this research is to propose an aircraft redesign methodology that will act as a decision-making aid for aircraft designers in the change implementation planning of derivative developments. The proposed method, known as Strategic Planning of Engineering Changes (SPEC), combines the key elements of the product redesign planning and change management processes. Its application is aimed at reducing the redesign risks of derivative aircraft development, improving the detection of possible change effects propagation, increasing the efficiency of the change implementation planning and also reducing the costs and the time delays due to the redesign process. To address these challenges, four research areas have been identified: baseline assessment, change propagation prediction, change impact analysis and change implementation planning. Based on the established requirements for the redesign planning process, several methods and tools that are identified within these research areas have been abstracted and adapted into the proposed SPEC method to meet the research goals. The proposed SPEC method is shown to be promising in improving the overall efficiency of the derivative aircraft planning process through two notional aircraft system redesign case studies that are presented in this study.