Lean Product Development
One of the activities carried out by our consultants is supporting companies with their Product Development processes.
Product Development, unlike other processes, simultaneously touches different business functions, focusing on the activities carried out by the: Technical, Research & Development, Production and Purchasing offices.
Each Product-Development project is unique; the development steps are set by means of pre-set and common intermediate steps for each project, but the details of each project need to be treated as unique.
Given the complexity and variety of the theme due to the different types of possible products, we took this opportunity to have one of our consultants share with us a simple way to apply some Lean guidelines that are deemed to be useful in clarifying Which are the Basic Steps needed to apply a Lean Approach to Product Development.
Decide as late as possible
(by Riccardo Bressan)
I have to be honest: I love paradoxes, I have always liked them: as yet, they still manage to surprise me.
Maybe because they’re Japanese, or who knows for which other reason, but the world of Toyota is full of paradoxes: for example here’s a famous catchphrase “Stop production so it never stops!”.
The Toyota Product Development process is focused on Time, and this is one of the most common headaches lived day-in day-out by many Product Development offices. Due to the ever-pressing need to create new ideas that are useful to a potential customer, Time is the most essential priority.
It is therefore essential to manage the Time-to-market metric with increasingly changing and increasingly personalized needs.
At this point comes one of the best paradoxes Toyota: decide as late as possible! Bring more solutions at once!
Do we look for speed and then work on more possible solutions at the same time? Where’s the trick?
One choice at a time often leads to a series of revisions that lengthen the response time to a problem: better to deal with multiple solutions at the same time, as the paths close or join together generate a solution in less time than the sequence versions. Here is the paradox.
The set of techniques to be exploited goes under the name of “Concurrent engineering”: a team of people who support a Product Development process that goes in the right direction… Pardon, in the right directions! Still, faster!