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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lean Product Development Process

I have the opportunity to present at the 2010 CONNSTEP Manufacturing & Business Conference on Novemebr 11.  The conference is built on continuous improvement and profitable growth – providing companies with the critical skills necessary to set a new direction and compete in the global recovery. With two keynotes and over 31 workshop opportunities, the conference will bring together leaders at every level and within every industry including manufacturing, healthcare and process based businesses.

Jamie Flinchbaugh will be the afternoon keynote speaker talking about changing behaviors through daily actions.  Mark Graban will also be presenting on how lean thinking helps hospitals.  I will be presenting on a Lean Product Development Process.

I thought I would share some of my thoughts on product development in terms of a Lean process.  Here is the abstract for my presentation:

Lean Product Development Process

Lean thinking is an enterprise strategy to grow your business profitably. 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.

A Lean Product Development Process comprises 3 basic elements: (1) driving waste out of the product development process, (2) improving the way projects are executed with stage-gate A3 management process, and (3) visualizing the product development process.

The first step in eliminating waste from New Product Development (NPD), and thus improving the process, is to learn to identify the eight wastes.  By closely examining the entire NPD process from a Lean perspective, the opportunities to drive out waste and increase value will become obvious.

Improving the execution of individual activities with the use of Lean tools is the next step.  A stage-gate review process helps to define the process utilized in development while reducing the risk of development.  The A3 management process is used to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor, and lead projects.

The last step is to bring visual factory techniques to your product development process.  Visual boards displaying necessary information provides the status at a glance.  Stand-up meetings in combination with the visual boards allow for optimized communication and with a bias for action.

There are a number of best practices within the realm of Lean Product Development but with only 60 minutes I think this represents a practical place most organizations can start.  If you can do this successfully you will have the building blocks to grow your business profitably.

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  1. Looking forward to seeing you at the event.

  2. That sounds like a great presentation. I wish I was could be there. At my previous company, we started using some of what you mentioned in our NPD process. We were able to reduce the lead time for a new product by 40% and sustain it.

  3. I plan to share the presentation after the conference so stay tuned for an update in a few weeks.