The purpose of Product Development is to create new products that improve the lives of customers.
Companies in the Product Development space often struggle to make products that resonate with their customers. Most Product Development efforts are plagued by the following problems –
- Solutions that aren’t innovative enough
- Development cycle times are too long
- Lots of rework
- High R&D costs
- Long time to get the product to the manufacturing cycle
- High production costs
- Quality issues and rework in production
And while Production and manufacturing of a product can be reliably controlled within precise margins, it is very difficult to do the same with the Product Development process. In manufacturing, the flow of value is physically evident and is tangible. Inventory can be seen and tracked, seconds can be shaved off an assembly process for a significant improvement in manufacturing capacity and so on.
However, with Product Development, the flow of value is not physically visible and is often abstract. Do you think the CFO at your organization is able to easily put a dollar value on the size of the design inventory? Have they even considered tracking it as an asset similar to the physical inventory?
Lean Product Development attempts to re-define the concepts of value-added and waste and apply it to a process that is inherently more about knowledge and information management than the actual development of the physical product itself.
The most common high-level concepts associated with Lean Product and Process Development are –
- Understanding what the customer finds value-added
- Understanding Wastes associated with Product Development
- Agreement and Alignment on Product Strategy and Product Planning
- Set-based Design and Engineering
- Managing knowledge and learning
- Developing the right skill-sets in people
- Tools and Technology that fit the process and people
- Visual Management