The US aerospace industry is currently being challenged by both strong international competittion in the commerical sector and the effects of declining defence budgets on government contracts. In an effort to meet these challenges, the industry is experimenting with new ways of organizing. One of the most effective new organizational structures is the product development team (PDT). Briefly examines what a PDT is and the advantages this type of organization has over the conventional functional type of structure. Because when to use PDTs and when not to is of critical importance, and includes guidelines to aid in the decision‐making process. Since implementing PDTs involves a major corporate culture change, problems will occur. Both potential problems and suggested strategies for resolution are included to provide some solace for the frustrated. The bottom line on PDTs is that they can greatly improve product quality while reducing costs and time to market. The effort of implementation is great, but so are the potential rewards.
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