Applied Systems Engineering is the application of engineering techniques to solve problems faced by businesses or communities. System engineers apply their knowledge and skills to design, develop, produce, implement and maintain complex products and services. They take a product or service need from concept to commercial reality while adhering to cost, time, and quality requirements.
The main areas of focus for applying systems engineering include:
Systems Engineers define performance goals that provide boundary conditions from which system concepts can be derived. These goals should be specific enough to be used as milestones during the system’s life cycle being developed. In addition, systems engineers must consider the non-functional requirements of the system they are designing.
Systems Engineers use a set of constraints to develop and test potential concepts for a new system and eliminate those that cannot meet the system’s performance goals. These constraints may include budget, schedule, available technology/materials, manpower availability, certification requirements, etc.
The conceptual design provides an early top-level view of what the product or service should look like, i.e., block diagrams. This is done using computer-aided design (CAD) tools. The systems engineer must pay careful attention to developing interface standards because it will affect the ease of integration later down the line.
Detailed design fleshes out the conceptual design and includes specific information on how the product or service will be built. The systems engineer must consider manufacturability, assembly, testability, and maintainability at this stage.
This is the actual implementation of the system. For the applied systems engineering process to succeed, it must meet the customer’s needs. Systems engineers often work with customers and end-users during this phase to ensure that the system meets their requirements. They may also develop training materials and manuals as part of this process.
It is important to note that these areas are not mutually exclusive, and a systems engineer may work on several different tasks simultaneously. For example, the systems engineer may be refining a concept design during one task while performing manufacturability studies for another.