Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

30.01.2013
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:
http://www.research.wayne.edu
http://www.wayne.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chances to treat childhood dementia

24.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Improved Performance thanks to Reduced Weight

24.07.2017 | Automotive Engineering

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>