Lean product development

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Lean product development
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The lean product development achieves effects through the below listed principles. The results of LPD program are increase of innovation (even 10x) and increase of number of new products (4-5 times).

Principles of lean product development

1. Establish customer-defined value to separate value-added from waste

The customer, market and legal requirements should be identified before starting the development process. Otherwise it is not possible to distinct value from waste. It's different from lean manufacturing, where the requirements are already defined. In development they are much more flexible.

2. Front-load the product development process to explore thoroughly alternative solutions while there is maximum design space

The earlier the developers start creating alternatives, the larger is number of possibilities. As the development progress decisions are made. Those decisions limit possibility of choosing alternatives.

3. Create a level product development process flow

In lean everything is about the flow. The process should be optimized and work smoothly.

4. Utilize rigorous standardization to reduce variation, and create flexibility and predictable outcomes

Standardization and flexibility are the opposites. But the real improvement in management comes from solving such opposites. The standardization should be aimed at reducing variation, while flexibility should be kept in creative activities to achieve predictable, yet innovative product.

5. Develop a chief engineer system to integrate development from start to finish

Whole development process should be integrated. That means every person working on parts of the product should be also a part of the team. Otherwise the compatibility problems arise.

6. Organize to balance functional expertise and cross-functional integration

In many companies there are distinct departments for mechanics, electronics, programming, etc. The organizational structure is not a problem itself, however bad communication can be one.

7. Develop towering competence in all engineers

The competences are never too high. But they can be too expensive. Build competence of your team.

8. Fully integrate suppliers into the product development system

The product can be only as good as raw materials are. Working with suppliers the developers can improve quality of supplies or to reduce product's susceptibility to variation in supplies quality.

9. Build-in learning and continuous improvement

Knowledge management is source of long term success in products development.

10. Build a culture to support excellence and relentless improvement

The organizational culture helps to maintain high level of involvement and attitude on improvement.

11. Adapt technologies to fit your people and process

To achieve the best product the company not always requires cutting edge technology. In fact using such technology can be a threat in production stage. Use the most of technologies, processes and people you currently have. Design your product to enable defects free production.

12. Align your organization through simple visual communication

Visual communication of project progress can improve understanding in whole team. That leads to better solutions, which take into account different issues. People having information about other elements of the project, can easier align to them in own tasks.

13. Use powerful tools for standardization and organizational learning

The scope of knowledge to be stored, indexed and readily available to employees will be so large, that you'll need fast, reliable and user-friendly tools. Otherwise documentation of development process will create waste of time.

Knowledge management in LPD

The most important is the knowledge management in the project. Each event related to product or manufacturing process can add valuable information for designers. Therefore there should be established an effective system of communication, information storage and sharing. The rules of reducing inventory don't apply to knowledge. Every piece of information can be helpful. However the database has to be created in such a way, that enables employees to quickly find answers.

Tools of lean product development

The organization always has to deal with imperfect information, and design of new products is always a step into unknown. Therefore there is a need of creating multiple design options and using tools enabling faster and better design. To achieve this additional tools are used:

Product development value stream mapping

Value stream mapping is a method used to analyse the production system. It shows the value stream, i.e. the identification of all operations (adding value, as well as those that do not add values) taken in the process of product manufacturing, starting from process of acquiring material and ending with the finished product.

Just in time product development

Just in time in product development is an modified version of well-known tool. It requires supplying design tasks with the required information, knowledge, decision, in specified form and time. The decisions about features of the product are made not at the beginning, but when they have to be made. This helps keeping open alternative ways of development.

Quick response product development

Quick response product development is a version of pull systems in manufacturing. In fact it combines push and pull to minimize drawbacks of both. The customer pushes specifications which entails pulling specifications as they are required on the next level of development.

GOLCAD

Grouped Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization for Development (GOLCAD) are equivalent of Kanban methodology. It uses cards to signal when each design group of workplaces may begin work on particular project. Forming loops between groups helps dealing with variation in the process.

Design task heijunka

Heijunka in product development helps levelling load of work. The variability in product development is significant, due to limited possibility of predicting how much resources will be consumed by tasks. In order to control variability PERT, critical ratio and Johnson's rule are used.

Machigai yoke

Machigai yoke is equivalent of Poka yoke. Error proofing can be done by design applications, which report any abnormalities. The three things should be checked:

  • form - desired state of design
  • fit - interactions between components
  • function - ability of production

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis can be a tool using in Machigai yoke.

Single minute exchange of projects

A changeover typical to Single minute exchange of die can be considered as switching between tasks. Switching between tasks in one project (changing workplace), or switching projects on one workplace can lead to waste. The processes should be designed to improve ability of switching tasks.

Kaizen

Kaizen is an universal method, or rather approach. The team should be oriented on continuous improvement.

A3 method

A3 problem solving method refers to solving problems on single A3 format sheet paper. All important information should be described there. The template is created based on [[Deming wheel|PDCA cycle]. It usually contains:

  • description of the problem
  • breakdown of the problem
  • targets
  • root cause analysis
  • description countermeasures
  • description of implementation of countermeasures
  • monitoring results and process
  • standardization and sharing effects

Knowledge management in LPD

The most important is the knowledge management in the project. Each event related to product or manufacturing process can add valuable information for designers. Therefore there should be established an effective system of communication, information storage and sharing. The rules of reducing inventory don't apply to knowledge. Every piece of information can be helpful. However the database has to be created in such a way, that enables employees to quickly find answers.

References

Author: Slawomir Wawak