» Lean Principles and Application

Lean Product Development enables step-changes in output and efficiency for creative processes

Warwick, UK

As part of a post-graduate programme at Warwick University, England, Glober & Partners’ Managing Director Stefan Glober was invited to lecture on the subject of lean applications outside the traditional manufacturing area. The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) holds a long tradition of developing and teaching standards of excellence in manufacturing. This lecture provided an opportunity to broaden the scope to the creative process of product development, upstream of factory operations. Students were shown how important product development is to the long-term competitiveness of an enterprise. At the same time, ever-increasing customer expectations and shareholder’s focus on return-on-investment require step changes in output and efficiency in new product development to guarantee sustainable competitiveness. “In today’s environment, every development director is challenged to do more with less, to be able to satisfy customer’s and shareholder’s expectations alike and to provide a continuous flow of great products and innovations. This requires an organization to look at product development as a part of a larger value chain and to rigorously standardize and enforce the use of best practices”, stated Glober. He then demonstrated how lean principles can and have been applied with great success in the ‘product development factory’, using standardized work, standardized management and visual management tools to increase productivity of product development organizations. In their feedback, students from a wide range of industries appreciated the eye-opening to lean thinking outside of the production environment and suggested a need for a much stronger focus on this in the future. “The session was incredibly powerful in what can be achieved by applying the principles, tools and techniques of Lean”, summarized post-graduate course coordinator Wendy Wilson. In addition to the good big picture view, detail provided also showed the enormity of what has been achieved and the “lateral thinking” that has taken place to apply Lean Thinking in the new product development environment, and we will spend more time on this in the future”, Wilson concluded.

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Posted on 01 Jan 2009

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