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Global car manufacturer takes collaborative route

Manufacturers can no longer simply implement CAD-based solutions and think that their IT needs are met. To enhance their competitive standing, they now must develop Web-based collaborative environments for product development.

In devising a systems approach to product development, General Motors has developed a Requirements Information Management System (RIMS), which will be implemented through an engineering groupware solution from SDRC.

“The solution represents a systems approach to product development for GM,” says Kirk Gutmann, a product information officer for the company. “We have recognized that our product development and its related requirements represent a very complex environment where many different disciplines need to work together. Delivering the right product to market at the right time is certainly a competitive challenge, and we believe that a systems-based approach enables us to meet this challenge.”

The Web-based groupware solution, called SLATE, will enable GM to organize the life cycle for a product into a system of interrelated documents, market requirements and viewing perspectives. Its systems-based architecture gives project teams a consistent frame of reference and enables them to make decisions based on collaboration among all of the various disciplines involved.

“GM is committed to implementing and executing systems engineering,” says George Polen, director of Systems Engineering at GM, “and we need IT solutions to easily, effectively and rapidly manage engineering requirements and integration information at minimum cost,”

General Motors is the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, earning $5.6 billion on sales of $176.6 billion in 1999 and employing 388,000 people globally.

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