Is it strategic reuse or just reuse?
There are many ways to reuse assets, and although some of these ways may not be as efficient as others, it just makes sense to reuse work that has been previously done. Today, reuse of assets is commonly implemented in product lines.
Consider a product family such as a line of cars. There are S, SE, SEL and limited edition models. These closely related products share one or more common elements. The branches shown in the following diagram of a product line with variants branching off could represent the S, SE, SEL and limited edition car model lines.
But how efficiently does the manufacturer reuse elements that are common to all of these models? It is likely that a change to an element in one model may not get propagated cleanly and efficiently to all models. Duplication of work is a likely possibility if there are not processes, procedures and tooling in place to automate reuse.
Strategic reuse and product line engineering
Companies that can formalize and replicate the ability to reuse and reapply assets efficiently benefit because it gives them the ability to more easily develop new products. Developing an orchestrated process for maximizing reuse across the engineering lifecycle is important for increasing design efficiencies and taming complexity. Being able to reapply assets from one product to another can increase productivity and quality. This is strategic reuse. When implemented at the top level in a company, strategic reuse saves the company money. Saving money is key.
Product line engineering is a deliberate engineering approach to defining, developing and managing product lines from a common set of core assets. Product line engineering is an engineering method for achieving strategic reuse.
The business drives the tooling. Many IBM Rational tools facilitate strategic reuse including, but not limited to IBM
Strategic reuse and continuous engineering
Continuous engineering is an enterprise capability that helps to speed the delivery of increasingly complex and connected products by helping engineers to accelerate learning throughout the lifecycle, while managing cost, quality and risk.
It involves strategic reuse, open access to engineering information and continuous verification and validation. So continuous engineering is not just a non-stop process. There are also no discontinuities or gaps in the flow of information between engineering disciplines and lifecycle phases, and from engineering development to manufacturing.
When an asset is reused in different products, it needs to be verified and validated over and over again as new products are created. It is continuous and this is where strategic reuse and continuous engineering come together.
For a more in-depth look into strategic reuse, check out this podcast.
Strategic reuse includes basic reuse, but it is a higher level business strategy for reuse. Does your organization have a strategy for reuse?