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Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field

by Jim Morgan
June 4, 2015

Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field

by Jim Morgan
June 4, 2015 | Comments (0)

Dear Community Member,

I had planned to get this note out to you sooner, but we’ve been incredibly busy working at the gemba to improve product and process development systems. Know the feeling? It’s always difficult to find time to step back and reflect when there’s work to do, but it’s crucial if we want to be intentional about where we’re going.

Since starting the LPPD initiative at LEI less than a year ago, the demand for support in improving product development capability has far exceeded our expectations. We’ve had the honor to work with more than a dozen companies in industries from aerospace to consumer products to medical devices, to marine equipment and more. These are high performing organizations doing work all over the world – in North America, South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. In every case they are confronted by formidable challenges to their product and process development systems.

The business need is clear: The world is far more competitive than ever before and strong product and process development capability is essential. Increasingly, companies need help connecting with the right knowledge in the right way.

Our first event with LPPD Learning Group partners in 2015 was hosted by Herman Miller and was an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience. Over an intense and rewarding 2-day learning event, leaders in product development from non-competing organizations shared their Strategic A3s, A3 Trees, and ongoing improvement experiments. The cross-company collaboration was remarkable. Teams openly shared their business challenges as well as specific actions they are taking to improve their development system performance. The dialogue was robust and left everyone hungry for the next event in early fall.

Here’s a bit of what we discussed:

  • How to use PDPs (Perfect Development Plans) to demystify development, create flow, and enable teams to understand and react to abnormal conditions early and effectively. Then how to use PDPs to identify key interdependent inputs and outputs in order to increase speed to market through more precise concurrency.
  • How to leverage manufacturing excellence and each organization’s unique process know-how as a competitive advantage in product development.
  • How to deliver on the details of craftsmanship (visual/audial/tactile) to improve the customer’s total experience with your product to create another powerful competitive advantage.
  • How to build web-based collaboration and physical experimentation into the front end of your development process to increase innovation and speed.

This is just a sample of what we’re working on in the LPPD Learning Group, the results of which we look forward to sharing more of with you. Does your team or organization struggle with these problems? Have other challenges? Tell us in the comments below.

Beyond LEI’s LPPD Learning Group, here are other things going on in the larger Lean Product and Process Development ecosystem:

  • Can great products help to revitalize a city? Detroit seems to be undergoing a product-led comeback. I have an emotional tie to the city since I was born there. But Detroit is garnering tons of international attention for product-led businesses like Shinola and Wallace Guitars, among others. Hundreds of businesses like these are bringing a vitality back to the city that it hasn’t seen in decades. Never underestimate the power of entrepreneurial energy, deep skill, and great products!

We’re just getting started with our effort to respond to the demand for more Lean Product and Process Development support, and we couldn’t be more excited to invite you to join us as we think, learn, and do together.

Stay in touch, email us your questions, and I hope to see you in September!

– Jim

Jim Morgan
Senior Advisor
Lean Product and Process Development
at the Lean Enterprise Institute

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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