Manufacturing companies often face a harsh problem caused by misunderstanding between engineering and manufacturing departments. Based on different perspectives, they both strive to achieve some goals without fully evaluating the impacts of their decisions. Ambiguity in the description of responsibilities, interactions and processes makes collaborative product design and manufacturing very difficult to address. This paper presents a comprehensive overview of collaborative workflow technology which is made up of three major parts, workflow, software agents and Web services. We propose to use collaborative workflow technologies to facilitate heterogeneous processes of product design and manufacturing processes.

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