In this article series, we covered several topics in the area of product development and project management. We will now begin to explore process improvement with the topic “Design for Lean”. While design for lean may be a subtopic within product development, it helps us understand operational risks, operational costs, enables operational planning and process improvement.
Previous articles have covered product development tools and methodologies such as lean product development, agile, design for six sigma, product life cycle (PLC) and project management processes.
In this article, lets consider “the product” being developed any hardware product, software, IT system, service or new business process. We’ll use the acronym “PSSBP” (Product, Service, Software, Business Process) as an all-encompassing placeholder and to illustrate critical thinking on the topic as follows:
In a previous article, we defined design for six sigma (DFSS) as a thought process focused on maximizing customer value and minimizing cost.
More specifically, DFSS is used to reduce variability in product performance (thereby increasing value), using analytical models and our knowledge of manufacturing variability to enable specification limits on difficult-to-manufacture tolerances to be increased (thereby reducing cost).
For the majority of organizations, long-term success is tied directly to the new product development process. Tomorrow’s revenue and growth are tightly bound to how successful you are at launching new products.
Offering genuinely valuable, high quality products is, more than ever, the best way to capture market share. Also, more investment up-front minimizes overall expense.
…fewer design iterations to achieve the same goals (reduced time to market), more efficient production and delivery processes (reduced operating costs), fewer defects & warranty costs during the entire product life cycle (increased customer satisfaction).
In my previous article, we established some high-level objectives for lean product development as follows:
- Better understand the customer (maximize customer value)
- Do the right projects (product, project and portfolio value analysis)
- Do projects right (minimize waste and rework)
- Level load the organization (minimize bottlenecks and resource constraints)
- Create and re-use artifacts (standardize and sustain best practices)