Chapter 3. Decide as Late as Possible

Concurrent Development1

When sheet metal is formed into a car body, a massive stamping machine presses the metal into shape. The stamping machine has a huge metal die, which makes contact with the sheet metal and presses it into the shape of a fender, door, or another body panel. Designing and cutting the dies to the proper shape accounts for half of the capital investment of a new car development program and drives the critical path. If a mistake ruins a die, the entire development program suffers a huge setback. If there is one thing that automakers want to do right, it is the die design and cutting.

The problem is, as the car development progresses, engineers keep making changes to the car, and these ...

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