Making Product Development Processes More Innovative [Machine Design – August 14, 2014] discusses ways that corporations can build more “innovation-think” time into their product development processes. The article primarily focuses on improving the balance of activities that are required by company product development processes.
If capacity and throughput in Manufacturing and Production is accurately quantified as “equipment assisted by people,” then R&D and Product Development is accurately quantified as “people assisted by equipment.” Paying attention to the specific activities that are required of development professionals is a key contributor to R&D productivity and throughput, more so than just about any function. R&D-Product Development headcount is a single digit percentage of the work force that is required to generate fifteen to sixty percent of near and intermediate term revenues. Time is a critical commodity.
Today’s product development process structures, many whose underpinnings date to times when digital simulation and testing were a very expensive commodity and there were far less computer models and illustrations on the shop floor, also bear a legacy of having test suites whose center of gravity and resultant corporate culture is after the product exists in physical form. As such, Design Reviews last almost up to product launch.
Thinking best practices, physical form is late. In physical form, one is answering a more reactive Quality Control question “does the as-built model conform to the requirements and specification?” If yes, phew. If no, as is usually the case, changes are required that can ripple through the entire supply chain. Changes certainly take engineering time. These are not really Design Reviews. Design reviews are reviews of design.
Analogous to re-balancing required pipeline activities to improve innovative thinking and new product creation potential, re-balancing a late center of gravity will also free time and energy for potential new product creation.
Design Reviews Reduce Time to Market [Machine Design – September 4, 2014] discusses how R&D-Product Development time can be saved by performing early and meaningful Design Reviews to help overcome legacy testing suites and a culture whose gravity is late into the process. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Design Reviews result in a more productive, collaborative, and satisfied R&D-Product Development community.
NOTE: The article is currently posted. The MD September 4 magazine issue URL will enliven when the issue is published.