Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


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

Ants’ behavior leads to Wayne State University researcher’s method for optimizing product development time, costs
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 computer simulations 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 mathematical model-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 Ant Colony 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 work performance. 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 product development 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.

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world.

Julie O'Connor | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht Here comes the long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
25.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>