Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Eight Wastes of NPD

I am one of those people who believe that there is truly only one reason companies should implement Lean teachings and that is to grow your business. Many may think that there are other reasons but as Eliyahu Goldratt wrote in “The Goal”, the objective is to “make money now and in the future”. There are probably some that believe the goal of business is about customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction but those can not be achieved with out “making money now and in the future”.

For a business to grow profitably there are essentially two elements that are needed: Lean and Innovation. You need innovative products, technologies, and services that people really want. And this all needs to be done with operational excellence to compete in a global consumer driven market.

Many companies refer to the innovative arm of the business as New Product Development (NPD). The application of Lean principles and concepts to efficiently deliver high quality products to market timely with minimal investment is relatively new and therefore limited.

I recently read an article about the Eight Wastes in Lean NPD and thought it was worth sharing. The author debunks the common myths of it won’t work here syndrome and goes on to illustrate how to identify the eight wastes in the NPD process. According to the author the generic definitions of these wastes apply:

1. Motion – frequently going in search of information
2. Transportation – numerous electronic handoffs of information
3. Over Production – poor management drives inefficiencies and overruns of schedule and cost
4. Over Processing – unnecessary design steps, over-engineered products, over-designed, and overly complex processes
5. Waiting – time wasted from a network of dependent tasks along critical path
6. Inventory – build up of unprocessed information
7. Defects – never right the first time, scrap and rework expected
8. Behavioral Waste – underutilized intelligence and intellect

While we are always pursuing continuous improvement by eliminating waste from our processes, Lean is really about learning to “see”. Maybe this will help to illustrate the wastes within the process of innovation which is so important to the goal of growing a profitable enterprise for customers.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. I have been curious to implement Lean in NPD environment for some time. Looking for more from other readers.

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