The development of products in large industrial organizations involves numerous engineers from different disciplines working on inter-dependent components of the product with objectives that are sometimes in conflict. The need for overall coordination, consistency, control and integrity of data, design ideas and design rationale is critical. The information generated by each designer must be viewed in the context of information generated by other designers, and the enterprise as a whole.
In this paper, we discuss a model of concurrent engineering that focuses on the ability of collaborating designers to proceed independently, co-relate inter-dependencies, utilize existing information (data, knowledge and processes), and negotiate conflicts arising from design inconsistencies. To provide information based support for such environments, we introduce several design schemas to support the concurrent, collaborative and historical aspects of CE environments. The need for a data dictionary that supports these schemas and its different dimensions is also recognized. The dictionary must also provide conceptual centralization of design information relative to the enterprise. This includes data, as well as its definition (meta-data), and must allow the design process to interact with a global enterprise perspective. These discussions lead to a list of research issues that must be addressed by the engineering data management research community.