Life-cycle Knowledge Management in the Design of Large Made-To-Order (MTO) Products

  • Chris Laing
  • Barry Florida-James
  • Kuo-Ming Chao


Large made to order products consist of many complex functions and it is expected that no single designer will have all the necessary and relevant design skills. This results in specialized design teams, which operate with different design priorities. They often operate at different locations. In such operations, different models of the design are represented in different databases. Essential elements of the design process will emerge from these different databases. Since such elements will be a function of dfferent design priorities, different locations and possibly different temporal zones, a model for version control is proposed. Capturing the design process in this manner (rather than according to a pre-defined method), allows the recording of a much richer representation of the knowledge states in design models. These states are a representative explanation of the actual design processes rather than the perceived design processes. The version control is used to capture the decisions when moving from ‘knowledge in design’ (design decisions) to ‘knowledge in service’ (maintenance decisions). This version control forms part of a coherent memory, through which knowledge exchange can occur within and between design teams. This exchange allows stakeholders to develop questions that support the activities of exploration, assessment, evaluation and assimilation of a design domain. Questions that need to be asked in order to identify incubating failure conditions, to manage those conditions and to identify new opportunities that may arise from those conditions. It is demonstrated that a question driven strategic framework would help to avoid the ‘we have always done it this way’ mentality and could encourage individuals to develop a selection of diverse beliefs to counter the “phenomena of defective reality testing” [1].


Knowledge Management Design Team Version Control Resource Agent Version Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Laing
    • 1
  • Barry Florida-James
    • 1
  • Kuo-Ming Chao
    • 1
  1. 1.Engineering Design Centre, Armstrong BuildingThe UniversityNewcastle-upon-TyneUK

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