Baldrige Award–winning manufacturers know how to design and build a high-quality product. However, a skill that even state-of-the-art manufacturers have yet to master is the art of quickly designing many new, high-quality products at once and then building them on the same production line. It is an important issue in the automotive industry, where car companies and suppliers are racing to meet the demand for safer products by creating crash-resistant bumpers, front and side air bags and head restraints.Conventional wisdom holds that the way to build new products better and faster is to integrate design and manufacturing-process concerns early in the development cycle. But is early integration really the solution? If so, what is it about process-design integration that improves performance? A study of research and development projects at 137 North American manufacturers conducted by researchers at Michigan State University in 2000 revealed some answers. Associate professor Morgan Swink and doctoral candidate Dongsong Zeng of MSU's Eli Broad Graduate School of Management focused particularly on confirming that design quality improves when knowledge from manufacturing experts is integrated early in new-product development.