Rooting Out the Causes of Inefficient Product Creation

In the decades ahead, successful companies will be those that can develop products with real customer value – and do so fast, consistently, and cost-effectively. Toward this end, most forward-thinking companies have taken initiatives to improve their product creation processes. Among their new tools and techniques have been simultaneous engineering, cross-functional program teams, milestone reviews, and product strategy boards. They have had four critical objectives:
– Reducing time-to-market
– Increasing customer satisfaction
– Reducing manufacturing cost
– Increasing the cost-efficiency of research, development, and engineering (RD&E)

In theory, it should be possible to achieve all four objectives simultaneously. In practice, however, progress has been uneven and frustration levels high.

We believe that persistent problems in the four areas of lead time, customer value, product cost, and RD&E efficiency can be traced to the fact that often management has addressed the symptoms of problems rather than their root causes. Significantly, our work has revealed that the same underlying root causes often cause problems in all four areas.

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