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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Deploying Lean in a Product Development Process

On The Lean Edge Blog this week a reader asked how to take Lean into product development:
A consumer-products company has recently begun its Lean journey by focusing on Lean fundamentals starting on the shop floor (standard work, 1-piece flow, pull, work to Takt). The company is simultaneously refreshing its product portfolio.  Although the cross-functional New Product Development (“NPD”) team members may have little experience working in a Lean environment, the team nevertheless desires to (1) deploy rapid NPD processes and (2) prioritize its product pipeline to take full advantage of its budding Lean capabilities.  For example, the team believes it should put higher weight on products most relevant to customers who will benefit from (and pay for) its improved service and quality levels.  If you were coaching this NPD team, what advice would you provide?  What Lean tools / resources / would you recommend?
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the question, so here it goes:

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.

A couple of years ago I gave a presentation on Lean Product Development at a local conference where I expanded on the items I listed above.

Lean Product Development
View more presentations from Tim McMahon.
Lean is implemented in product development the same way it is in manufacturing or service processes. Predominantly the tools are the same. Sometimes we want it to be more complicated but the thinking is all the same. Start growing your business by deploying Lean thinking in your innovation process.

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1 comment:

  1. Product Development process includes system of defined steps and tasks such as strategy, organization, concept generation, marketing plan creation, evaluation, and commercialization of a new product and you are define it very well. thanks for sharing!!