The provision of computer aided product data management functions for small and medium enterprises
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis spans the cusp of the 20th and 21st centuries when enterprises were making the transition from the use of paper based to digitally based tools and methodologies to support the design and manufacture of new products. This transition occurred during a period when the globalisation of these activities was driven by the introduction of new, so-called "Information Technologies". During this period, software vendors introduced products to cater for the new demand for the management of increasing amounts of digital data created by computer-based tools and methods. Product Data Management systems are one such example and are the focus of this thesis. Larger enterprises have embraced these technologies and the benefits from such systems are now apparent. However, the uptake of these technologies by Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) is low by comparison. The need for data management products was driven by larger enterprises and the underlying research behind these tools and methods followed, rather than led, their introduction. As a consequence, tools and methods were proposed and implemented without due regard to the underlying concepts, nor was consideration given to how such tools and methodologies would be utilised by enterprises that varied in a multitude of ways. This area of research is important because SMEs comprise the majority of New Zealand and global enterprises. There is a need to develop suitable computer-based tools and methods to manage data to ensure SMEs can compete in an environment that is increasingly based on the creation and communication of digital data. This thesis seeks to contribute to the field of product data management in two ways; • Firstly, a fundamental conceptual model describing data classes and interactions by enterprises performing product development is developed. • Secondly, the developed model is used to underpin the design, development and implementation of a novel method for managing data created and used by SMEs. Suggestions for further development of the model and method will be made at the conclusion of the thesis.