How IBQMI® can help you to develop products that are excellent, and accessible to the customers

In 1998, Paul Adler conducted research proving that conventional product improvement goals, such as reducing the variation, decreasing process bottlenecks, and reducing rework, can reduce the development time by 30% to 50%. The development time can be reduced more significantly if this seven lean principles are applied to the process. Read on ...

Seven lean principles to reduce development time significantly

First principle – a holistic systems approach:
For personnel to use the resources optimally working on a product should be highly skilled, astute, and controlled. Their skills should be matched with the process’ complexity. The fundamentals of the product development system, like people and processes, should be coordinated and allied. The equipment must be right and everybody must be clear about the solution to augment the performance of the personnel and the process. The right blend of all the elements leads to a synergistic system.

Second principle – customer first approach:
The first step in the product development process is understanding the definition of the term value from the customer’s perspective. An organization should cater to customer needs and the organization’s long-term objectives. The product should be developed so customers are always satisfied and the resources are also used optimally. Lean principles help in achieving these objectives.

Third principle – a front-loaded process:
The engineering process that is applied should be firm and the problem-solving techniques along with cross-departmental participation maximize the effectiveness of the product development process. The processes should be coordinated in order to achieve speed and quality.

Fourth principle – a continuous improvement process:
Learning from mistakes and consistent measures for improvement should be a part of all the processes in any organization if it intends to grow. The performance goals that need to be set for an organization should be precise and should be accomplished in real time. Moreover, lessons should be learned from the goals accomplished and the employees should always upgrade their knowledge base. In fact, the errors should be chronicled so they are not repeated. A problem-solving session can also be held to extract multiple solutions and focus should be on root cause countermeasures, which will prevent recurrence.

Fifth principle – a synchronized process:
For concurrent engineering to be effective, each ensuing function should maximize the utility of the established information from the preceding function as it becomes available. The development teams should, therefore, work with the part of the design data that is unlikely to change and try to check wastage and save time. Each function’s processes should be designed to move forward and simultaneously build established data around as it becomes available. This practice is referred to as simultaneous execution.

Sixth principle – standardization for flexibility:
Although the two terms are contradictory, they are true as far as renew ability, common structure, and standard processes are concerned. Standardization is important, as it helps to eliminate waste from the product development process. If the expertise, processes, and the design standards are standardized, there is scope for fixing individual responsibility and flexible product development capacities. The standards created are also important as far as downstream lean manufacturing capabilities are concerned.

Seventh principle – going back to the source engineering:
In today’s time of high-tech engineering, engineers spend their time in their cubicles and the board rooms. However, the set-up should be such that the engineer remains close to the physical product. Kelly Johnson, the famous head of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works once said, “An engineer should never be more than a stone's throw away from the physical product.” The engineers should spend time at manufacturing plants and dealerships and, sometimes, by personally fitting parts on prototypes. These principles form the core of a product development process and can be easily applied in a lean set-up to minimize waste and improve customer satisfaction.

To master even big projects, enroll in the Certified Lean Project Manager®

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