Environmental Aspects in Product Development - an Investigation among Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Sophie Byggeth, Göran Broman
Title: Environmental Aspects in Product Development - an Investigation among Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Translated title: Miljöaspekter i produktutveckling - en undersökning bland små och medelstora företag.
Conference name: SPIE's International Symposium on Intelligent Systems for Advanced Manufacturing, Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing (RB12)
Year: 2000
Pagination: 261-271
Publisher: Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
City: Boston
ISI number: 000169199600029
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Institutionen för maskinteknik)
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: sophie.byggeth@bth.se, goran.broman@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Small- and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) represent a large part of industry. Environmental considerations during product development in SMEs therefore imply a large potential for reducing society's environmental impact. Implementing environmentally adapted product development among SMEs has been considered difficult and is uncommon. Our approach is to develop a qualitative Method for Sustainable Product Development (MSPD) that relates both to a framework for sustainability and to the ordinary product development process. The aim is to guide the user to avoid problems related to social and ecological non-sustainability without demanding extensive expertise knowledge. Two surveys in ten Swedish SMEs have been carried out. An initial survey registered their product development procedures and environmental work as well as desired characteristics of a new suggested method for integrating environmental aspects into the product development process. A second survey registered additional desired characteristics and improvement suggestions when testing an early version of our MSPD. The surveys and the structure of our MSPD are presented, and the desired characteristics for a workable method in SMEs, found in our investigation and in literature, are discussed.
Subject: Mechanical Engineering\General
Keywords: Product development, Product design, Industry, Environmental protection, Sustainable development, Small and medium sized enterprises, Method for sustainable product development