Kenneth Crow is President of DRM Associates, a management consulting and training firm specializing in new product development (NPD) through the implementation of best practices and lean product development concepts and application of tools and techniques such as product planning, voice of the customer (VOC), requirements definition, QFD, DFM, target costing and design to cost, project management, and NPD process improvement. He is also a Principal in PD-Trak Solutions, a software vendor providing tools for new product development process management, project management, portfolio management, and resource management. He is a distinguished speaker and recognized expert in the field of lean product development. Ken’s experience with DRM Associates includes work in aerospace, automotive, capital equipment, consumer products, electronics and high technology, and medical device industries (see client list). He has conducted over 200 workshops and trained over 5,000 professionals and managers on subjects related to product development.
Prior to this, he served as Vice President of the Professional Services Division of Western Data Systems, a supplier of manufacturing, engineering and business software, consulting and education. There he directed all customer education and consulting services and was responsible for product planning, and executive seminars. These services included planning, change management, education and training, technical services, system integration, and implementation consulting. Prior to WDS, Ken was Director of the Manufacturing Consulting Practice with Arthur Young in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for building a distinguished manufacturing consulting practice. He began working in the field of new product development in 1981 addressing issues such as configuration management/engineering change control, transition to production/product launch, and design for manufacturability. He began to evolve some of the initial concepts of today’s concurrent engineering and lean product development practices starting in 1982.
In these positions, he directed, managed and performed consulting work related to lean product development, enterprise resource planning system implementation, design for manufacturability, design-to-cost, product development teams, business process reengineering, manufacturing management, and cost management. Representative experience includes:
- Conducted a broad program to improve the product development function at Lighting Technologies, the largest lighting manufacturer in Russia. After assessing their development process, he developed plans to improve their development operations and, over the the next two years, assisted with reorganization and hiring of additional personnel to fill gaps, defined and implemented an improved product development process to reduce time-to-market, facilitated development of a business strategy and product plan, established a project management office (PMO), established a gate review and portfolio planning process, and oversaw evaluation and implementation of improved tools for CAD/CAM, PLM, and project portfolio management. We also conducted customized training to personnel in Portfolio and Pipeline Management, Gate Reviews, Voice of the Customer, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Lean Product Development, Project Management, and Product Management.
- Assisted Westinghouse with a series of projects. We helped define and document their new product development (NPD) process and developed a handbook and web site describing this process. We defined a target costing process and integrated it into their new product development process. We conducted target cost training for key personnel. We help select and implement product cost estimating software to be used early in the development process to provide feedback on the cost implication of design decisions. We further conducted training on quality function deployment and value analysis. We facilitated four major programs define customer needs, develop a product strategy, and plan product requirements using QFD, target costing, value analysis, and early manufacturing involvement. This improved the product’s value proposition, led to innovative solutions, reduced costs, and provided better focus on the real customer needs.
- Assisted Sun Microsystems with a initiative called DF* to address manufacturability, testability, diagnosibility, serviceability, and supply chain leadtime. We assessed the current NPD process, identified issues and opportunities, and developed a plan to improve the process. We provided assistance and guidance to the DF* team in developing an improved process, supporting tools, and design guidelines. We developed an extensive website and training program, and we conducted a series of workshops. Pilot programs were conducted and supported. Based on these pilot programs, refinements to the process, tools, web site and training were made. In addition, he provided QFD training to six sigma blackbelts and facilitated application of QFD on several projects.
- We provided design to cost assistance to Space Systems/Loral in their pursuit of the next generation Iridium satellite constellation. In this hands-on role, we helped to define DTC roles and responsibilities within the program and the supporting functional organizations and suggested changes in business models & contractual relationships with team members to incentivize a more unified DTC approach. We helped to establish NRE and RE cost targets for program elements and refined cost models and cost reporting. We introduced DTC methods and techniques as appropriate and facilitated a DTC approach with teams at all levels of the program. We supported requirements and cost trades and assisted with identifying, quantifying and mitigating cost risks. Most fundamentally, we played the role of the DTC consciousness in the program. We assisted with the development of the proposal and worked with the customer to negotiate DTC objectives with business requirements, risks, and technical requirements.
- Helped Saft America implement an improved concurrent engineering approach on a major new program. Facilitated a product team to define the product development process with a multi-functional team and identify responsibilities for tasks and deliverables under this process. Facilitated product planning using QFD and established QFD as a key element of the product development process. Installed and set-up the PD-Trak NPD project/process management system to support this initial project.
- Assisted Samsung Electronics plan and develop a major product for a new market. Samsung had established a Value Innovation Program (VIP) Center to serve as an incubator for more critical, higher risk programs for its business units. While the VIP Center was very sophisticated in its use of best practices and NPD methods, it wanted assistance to further refine its use of these tools by applying improved methods on NPD programs. We assisted a major, high-risk program to analyze customer needs and facilitated their improved use of QFD. We worked with them to develop new focus group and QFD methods such as a feature evaluation matrix. We pushed them to develop a more effective and competitive product and marketing strategy. We also provided guidance with their sales and distribution strategy. We helped integrate a target costing approach with QFD and proposed a cost tracking system to support product development.
- Helped Verizon to improve their product management capabilities involving over 200 product managers. Reviewed the job descriptions for the various product manager job classifications. Defined best practices for product management and used this as a basis for developing a product manager assessment tool. Conducted a management briefing on two areas that required further emphasis: voice of the customer and product planning with QFD.
- Assisted Remington determine the voice of the customer, developed products plans and strategies, and define requirements for a next generation electric shaver using quality function deployment (QFD). This effort included the development of a product planning matrix and three subsystem/subassembly deployment matrices.
- Conducted a review of two commercial aircraft programs at Irkut Corporation and identified opportunities to implement lean product development practices. Conducted a management briefing on lean product development and recommended a focus on two areas initially – implementation of integrated product teams (IPTs) and of a design to cost process. Assisted Irkut to review the program organization of one of their commercial aircraft programs and plan the potential structure of the teams.
- Assisted Baxter Healthcare develop a common corporate-wide product development process. Reviewed the process definition work developed by a team of Baxter personnel, identified issues, and recommended improvements. Helped address organizational and implementation issues.
- Helped review, define and improve the product development process at Radioframe Networks, Enturia, Power-One, General Services Administration and Direct Energy. Defined and established a gate review process at these firms. Conducted management training in portfolio management and gate review processes. Implemented project portfolio management systems to support these processes.
- Worked with the product management function at DTS, Inc. to define and improve their product development process, particularly with respect to the product management functions of evaluating product ideas, conducting an initial investigation, building a business case, preparing for a gate review, and evaluating an overall portfolio of development projects.
- Reviewed products and productions processes for manufacturability at Nokia, McData, FSI International, Gehl, Adaptive Microsystems, Snap-On Diagnostics, Ventracor, General Dynamics Land Systems, OSRAM Opto-Semiconductor, Mid-Continent Instruments, Infineon, Edwards Lifesciences, Avocent, Astronics, Cochlear, Respironics, and Elgar Electronics. Conducted DFM/A workshops and facilitated teams in the review and assessment of manufacturability of each company’s products.
- Coducted DFM reviews and recommended design improvements in products or assemblies at Avocent, Basler Electric, Gambro Dasco, and Invitrogen. In one case, estimated assembly time was reduced from two hours to 30 minutes.
- Reviewed the existing manufacturability initiatives, products, and production processes at several facilities at a major electronic contract manufacturer. Identified needed elements of a DFM/A process, developed a business case for investing effort in design for manufacturability/assembly, and developed a plan for creating DFM/A guidelines and review process.
- Directed and undertook the improvement of the new product development process for an audio equipment manufacturer, Harman International. This included process mapping, process improvement, procedure revision, streamlining process outputs, creation of a standard project planning template, development of a time tracking system and a resource planning system, development of a phase-gate process, development of a design review process and methodology, and training and facilitation.
- Assisted Yazaki North America, an automotive supplier, develop a strategic plan for Engineering and a technology development plan. Performed a competitive assessment and, based on this, helped define a unique competitive focus. Facilitated establishing a vision and developing goals. Used QFD to plan tactics and programs in response to goals and prioritized and balanced with available resources. Also used QFD to prepare a technology development plan based on an identified set of customer needs and prioritized and balanced this plan with available resources. Facilitated a subsequent annual update to this plan.
- Conducted a product development assessment at a British Aerospace business unit, developed a plan for improving their product development process, and worked with a division of this organization to improve their development process. We assisted with the implementation of a product data management (PDM) system by reviewing requirements, and developing the concept for how the PDM system would be implemented. We assisted to define the organization of product data, release levels and revision levels, and interfaces with other systems. We conducted training on integrated product development, product development teams, and quality function deployment (QFD). We also facilitated the use of QFD on one of their programs. We worked with another program to apply IPPD practices, develop a comprehensive project plan based on an IPPD and systems engineering approach, develop a team organization structure, and draft a IPPD handbook to support this program.
- Provided Voice of the Customer (VOC) training and/or conducted VOC investigations with Advanced Energy, Arris, Lighting Technologies, Microsoft Proclarity, IPEX, and PAC.
- Conducted Design for Serviceability (DFS) or Design for Maintainability training for Acushnet, ASM, B Braun, Illumina, MKS instruments, Philips, and General Dynamics Land Systems. Introduced an DFS analysis methodology and facilitated DFS reviews of product and equipment designs at those firms.
- Provided Quality Function Deployment (QFD) training and facilitated the application of these techniques on proposal development efforts and major development programs for products such as refrigerators, nuclear fuel assemblies, rocket motors, industrial gas turbines, auxiliary power units, fire control systems, storage area network, remote computer monitoring and servicing, aircraft battery, cardiac lead implants, and others. Developed and licensed a QFD software and training program to a number of companies.
- Worked with a major electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider or contract manufacturer to develop a strategy for assisting their customers enhance the manufacturability of their products. Surveyed existing products and process capabilities, identified needed elements of a design for manufacturability/assembly program, built a business case, and developed a program plan.
- We conducted a review of Johnson & Johnson Ethicon Endo Surgery design to cost (DTC) process and made recommendations for improvement. We developed a customized DTC training module and conducted train-the-trainer training. We defined three project team workshops and tool sets to assist in DTC. We then facilitated workshops for several project teams to help them achieve the DTC target. In a separate project, we reviewed and identified changes to be made in their design for manufacturability (DFM) process, helped develop deployment plans to roll out a DFM initiative, and conducted DFM training.
- Developed a new product development assessment and improvement methodology based on 270 best practices identified and updated based on the last twelve years of our consulting, writing and speaking. Developed a software product based on this methodology that has been licensed to over 40 firms. Conducted Product Development Assessments using this proven methodology and established plans to improve the development process at a variety of manufacturers.
- We reviewed the products, operations and development process in Lord Corporation’s aerospace, automotive, commercial and chemical business units and provided recommendations to incorporate DTC in the development process. We developed and conducted customized DTC workshops for personnel in three business units as well as a management workshop to gain management commitment to a DTC program.
- Assisted a Rohr Industries (now B.F. Goodrich Aerospace), a major aerospace subcontractor, plan and organize a corporate-wide concurrent product development (CPD) initiative. Conducted workshops on concurrent engineering, QFD, and team-building. Assisted to define a “to-be” technical architecture for CAD systems. Organized preparation of a CPD handbook. Structured and facilitated product development teams.
- Assessed a $600 million development program at Lockheed Martin Vought Systems and provided specific recommendations to improve the structure and operation of integrated product teams. Conducted teambuilding and IPPD training for the program and the business unit. Provided on-going guidance to the program and to the business unit.
- Conducted an assessment of Commercial Space Operations and the THAAD anti-ballistic missile program at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space. Both assessments involved extensive interviews and fact-finding with program personnel in both the contractor and customer organizations. Detailed findings based on the assessment against 260 best practices were developed along with very specific recommendations for improving the development program. We met with program and customer personnel to review our findings and recommendations. We also participated in implementation meetings to plan an improvement program. In a separate project, we developed integrated product development training and conducted train-the-trainer workshops for training modules covering an IPD Overview, a Team Launch Workshop, and a Team Leader Workshop
- We reviewed the products, operations and development process at Siemens Milltronics, Barco, ITT Night Vision, DRS Technologies, and Medrad. We developed and conducted customized DTC workshops. We also recommended process steps to improve their development process.
- Introduced concurrent engineering practices and quality function deployment (QFD) at Solar Turbines, an industrial turbine engine manufacturer. Guided and facilitated a new product introduction team in defining customer requirements and product planning. Assisted executive management with the application of concurrent engineering concepts.
- We assisted General Motors and EDS develop a curriculum for an extensive concurrent engineering training program of over forty days in length. We supported this training program by conducting training in engineering economics, design-to-cost, value engineering, design for manufacturability, and product certification. We conducted twelve sessions for over 300 people.
- At FMC Ground Systems (now United Defense L.P.), we provided concurrent engineering/integrated product development (CE/IPD) training to the Ground Systems Division Leadership Board and Engineering Board. We reviewed the system development process and provided recommendations regarding improvements and the overall plan for implementing CE practices. We conducted CE/IPD and team building workshops and assisted individual programs implement CE practices and form product development teams. We developed a team model and handbook for the Division and have tailored and applied the team model to individual programs. We provided guidance in the successful use of QFD in one multi-division program.
- Developed and conducted over 100 training programs for executive management and product development professionals. These workshops include the Integrated Product Development Executive Briefing, Product Development Best Practices Workshop, Team Building Workshop, Team Launch Workshop, Team Leader Workshop, Design for Manufacturability Workshop, Quality Function Deployment Workshop, Value Analysis Workshop, Design-to Cost Workshop, Target Costing Workshop, Requirements Definition and Concept Development Workshop, and many others.
- Conducted training and implemented integrated product development practices at a protective equipment manufacturer, a semiconductor manufacturer, an instrument manufacturer, an avionics supplier, and at many other companies.
- Helped manage a project to implement an ERP system at a major aerospace prime contractor. Supported project planning and management. Assisted with enterprise integration. Conducted training programs.
- Assisted with requirements definition, product planning and software evaluation projects for high technology companies, manufacturers, defense contractors, distributors, and other organizations.
- Assisted several high technology and start-up companies develop business strategies, business plans and financial projections.
He has given keynote speeches, presentations and courses in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia on various aspects of integrated product development, design for manufacturability, design-to-cost, and quality function deployment. He has also written numerous papers and articles on these subjects and contributed to books on these subjects. He was on the Editorial Advisory Board of Best Practices Report and Time Compression Technologies and was on the Board of Advisors for Concurrent Engineering.
Mr. Crow received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Information Systems and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. He was certified as a New Product Development Professional through PDMA, Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) through the APICS, is a Certified Configuration Manager through NDIA, and was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He is a founding member, past President, and was on the Board of Directors of the Society of Concurrent Product Development. He was also Executive Director of the International Product Development Institute. He is a member of the Product Development Management Association, and a life member of the Society of Concurrent Product Development.