In this paper, we discuss the problem of reducing product development lead time by overlapping coupled development activities through the exchange of preliminary design information. We present an approach, called iterative overlapping, in which downstream development activities begin with unfinalized upstream design information and accommodate design changes in subsequent iterations. In the absence of careful control, iterative overlapping could involve excessive downstream rework leading to an increase in lead time. We formulate the iterative overlapping problem and model iterations and design changes to determine how to overlap the activities for lead time reduction. The model is illustrated with application to an automobile door panel development process.

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