Featured Workshops

PD-Trak Project Portfolio Management System

We have found that a project portfolio management such PD-Trak can significant improving the planning and execution of product development projects and better assure adherence to an organization’s stage/phase-gate process.  We have worked with a number of these types of systems in the past and found that PD-Trak is one of the most cost-effective and flexible tools out there for both large and small enterprises.  PD-Trak provides both management functions to plan and monitor projects as well as project execution functions.  Key functions of the system are:

Idea Management functions capture ideas for new products/improvements and related information and provides a simple evaluation system for a product manager or management team to use to evaluate which ideas to move forward with. Idea-Management
Portfolio planning and management functions provide a variety of ways to evaluate and rank projects and then test the feasibility of a proposed portfolio against resources and investment constraints. Read More Project portfolio planning and management
Product development processes can be defined – phases, tasks and deliverables within a phase, responsibilities and document templates. Multiple processes can be defined such as ones for a new product, a simplified version for product upgrades or product line extensions, and one for technology or platform development. Read More Product development process
Stage/phase-gate methodology is supported with defined requirements for each gate review, various performance measures to evaluate projects, gate review packages, and automated distribution. Read More Stage / phase-gate
Project management capabilities for budgeting, scheduling and risk management are included.  PD-Trak provides scheduling tools or is integrated with Microsoft Project®.  These tools enable effective project planning and execution. Read more Project-management
Multi-project resource planning and resource management provides flexible options for planning project resources at a higher level or integrating detailed project plans with task level resource planning. The system provides flexible modeling of options and indicates when resources are available to start new projects for a Kanban approach. Read More Multi-project resource planning
Resource and pipeline management tools monitor and manage the product pipeline – maximizing project throughput.  These tools provide visibility on the project flow and enable the establishment of a release rhythm as suggested by the theory of constraints and lean product development practices. Read More Resource-and-pipeline-management
Performance measurement and dashboard tools are provided at the project and portfolio level. Product development performance measurement
PD-Trak can be installed on your company’s own IT systems or used in the cloud.  DRM Associates is a PD-Trak agent. For further information or a demo, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates Phone +1 310-377-5569 Email: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Product Development Toolkit

The Product Development Toolkit provides a comprehensive set of tools to support the product development process from initial definition of customer needs through the development of control plans prior to start of production. The Product Development Toolkit supports the quality frameworks of:

The Product Development Toolkit contains the following tools: The framework or process flow for the Product Development Toolkit is shown below.

process_flow

All tools include detailed instructions, links to descriptive papers about each technique and supporting guidelines, and one or more examples to illustrate the usage of the tool.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Quality Function Deployment is a powerful tool to plan products and their specific characteristics and required manufacturing processes. It starts with capturing the voice of the customer (VOC) and next performs competitive analysis as a basis for planning specific technical characteristics of a product to maximize customer value. In addition to providing a rigorous approach to planning, QFD facilitates product team communication and collaboration. QFD is described in more detail in our paper, "Customer-Focused Development with QFD". The product planning matrix is illustrated below:

qfdppm

The Product Development Toolkit supports all four phases of quality function deployment by providing the following QFD software tools:
  • Customer Needs Dictionary
  • Product Planning Matrix (House of Quality)
  • Concept Selection Matrix
  • Part/Assembly Deployment Matrix
  • Process Planning Matrix
Note that the Control Plan presented later performs the same function as the QFD process and quality control matrix.

Target Costing / Design-to-Cost

Target Costing is a market-driven strategy and process that begins with what price a product can sell for in the marketplace to achieve a desired sales volumes. Target cost is then calculated by subtracting the desired profit margin from this target price. The target cost is treated as an independent variable that must be satisfied along with other customer requirements rather than the result of design decisions (dependent variable). This cost would be considered the unit production cost that is expected to be achieved during a mature production stage. Design-to-cost is the process to achieve the specified target cost. Design-to-cost uses product cost models and estimating systems to evaluate design options and relies on tools such as design for manufacturability / assembly, value analysis and process re-engineering to achieve reduced product costs. Target costing and design-to-cost are further described in our paper, "Achieving Target Cost / Design-to-Cost Objectives". The target cost evaluation worksheet is illustrated below.

tceval

The Product Development Toolkit provides the following target cost and design-to-cost software tools:
  • Target Cost Calculation Worksheet
  • Target Cost Evaluation Worksheet
  • Target Cost Tracking Worksheet

Design for Manufacturability/Assembly

Design for Manufacturability/Assembly (DFM/A) refers to the principles of designing assemblies so that they are more manufacturable. DFM/A principles address Fabrication considerations, general part size and geometry for handling and orientation, features to facilitate insertion, assembly orientation for part insertion and fastening, fastening principles, etc. The objective of DFM/A is to reduce manufacturing effort and cost related to fabrication and assembly processes. Our paper, "Design for Manufacturability / Assembly" describes the DFM/A methodology and benefits. The Product Development Toolkit contains a DFM/A Evaluation Worksheet. The worksheet provides a simple to use assessment methodology to evaluate concepts and designs early in the development process before sufficient information may be available to use more formal DFM/A analysis software (e.g., Boothroyd and Dewhurst, GA Seer DFM, Team Set, etc.) or for companies that don't want to make a more significant investment in DFA software. The DFM/A Evaluation Worksheet is shown below.

Design for Manufacturability and Assembly Evaluation Worksheet

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is methodology for analyzing potential reliability problems early in the development cycle where it is easier to take actions to overcome these issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. FMEA is used to identify potential failure modes, determine their effect on the operation of the product, and identify actions to mitigate the failures. More information on FMEA can be found in our paper, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. An example of part of an FMEA is shown below.

fmea_example2

Control Plan

Control Plans aid in the manufacture of quality products to meet customer requirements. They provide a written description of the system and mechanisms to minimize product and process variation. The Control Plan augments the information provided in detailed operator instructions. Control Plans may apply to an individual part or product or to a family of similar items produced using the same process and source/equipment. Control Plans describe the actions required at each step in the process to assure that all process outputs will be in a state of control. During regular production runs, Control Plans provide the process monitoring and control methods used to control part or product characteristics. During product development the Control Plan is used to document and communicate the initial plan for process control. During production, it guides Manufacturing in how to control the process and insure product quality. The Control Plan is updated as the design changes, the process changes or measurement systems and control methodologies are improved. Control Plans are conceptually similar to the fourth phase of QFD, process/quality control planning and are often used in place of preparing this matrix. An example of a control plan is shown below.

control_plan

Product Development Toolkit Software

The Product Development Toolkit software is a Microsoft Excel® template. It requires Excel® 97 or later. Since most people know how to use Excel®, and instructions are provided for each worksheet tool, the Product Development Toolkit can be learned and used very quickly. The Product Development Toolkit is also a component of the PD-Trak system for planning and managing product development. An individual license is available for $495. A business unit or site license is available for $3,000. Licenses can be bought by credit card below and will then be delivered by email.
License Options
For questions or to order by purchase order or wire transfer, contact Kenneth Crow at +1 310-377-5569 or by email at: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Design for Manufacturability / Assembly Guidelines/Checklists

The Design for Manufacturability and Assembly (DFM/A) Guidelines/Checklists provide DFM/A guidelines to address during the development of a new product. The DFM/A guidelines cover the following areas (the number in parentheses indicate the approximate number of guidelines in each section).

  • Mechanical Assembly (140)
  • Printed Circuit Boards (90)
  • Injection Molding (60)
  • Machining (50)
  • Sheet metal (100)
  • Stampings (28)
  • Castings (37)
The DFM/A guidelines are intended as a starting point for an organization to develop their own guidelines customized to the specifics of their products and their manufacturing processes (and supplier's manuafcturing processes). The checklists are provided in the form of an Excel template so that they can easily be modified and added to. The Guidelines/Checklists provide a structure and a starting point that will save an organization many hours in developing its own guidelines and checklists. The format allows the Checklists to be used online for rating, used via the web, or printed and manually completed.

dfmachecklist

The license fee is $500 per business unit.

IPPD Program Assessment

The Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) Program Assessment software in intended for aerospace and defense contractors, capital equipment manufacturers, and other organizations that develop a product or system under contract. It is used to assess an individual program's application of IPPD practices. While the companion Product Development Best Practices and Assessment (PDBPA) software is used to assess the enterprise's product development process based on 270 best practices, the IPPD Program Assessment focuses on how well an individual development program applies IPPD practices. It describes approximately 180 best practices and provides a related set of questions to assess a program's application of these practices. An evaluation scale describes in narrative form the characteristics at each rating level. Weighting factors allow the evaluation to be tailored to the critical success factors of the program. The IPPD Program Assessment provides the program manager and program personnel with an understanding of IPPD practices and it provides the program with a cost effective and structured approach to benchmarking and improving program performance. This general benchmarking and assessment methodology is described in Benchmarking Best Practices for Improving Product Development. These best practices have been organzied into eighteen categories:

  • Program Management & Leadership
  • Proposal Process
  • Program Organization & Initiation
  • Project Planning & Management
  • Integrated Product Teams
  • Customer Integration
  • Subcontractor/Supplier Integration
  • Development Process Management
  • Requirements Definition & Management
  • Producibility, Reliability and Maintainability
  • Design to Cost
  • Design Assurance
  • Integrated Test Program
  • Transition to Production
  • Product Data Management and CM
  • Design Automation
  • Simulation and Analysis
  • Communications & Support Technology
Performance is summarized to the category level, and gap analysis is then employed to focus attention on the improvement opportunities that will yield the highest payoff. The software requires Microsoft Excel 5.0 or later. It is available for Windows and Macintosh. The software includes instructions, descriptions of best practices, worksheets for performing the self-assessment, and summary reporting of the results. The software license fee is $495 for one computer at a single business unit site. The combined license fee for the IPPD Program Assessment and the PDBPA software is $795. Contact us for program, site or enterprise pricing. Order via email, or send a purchase order or check. This software can also be used in conjunction with our consultant-led Program Assessment or our consultant-led Assessment Workshop. Training in using benchmarking, best practices, the capability maturity model, this assessment methodology and the IPPDPA software is available. In addition to the self-assessment option, we can provide support in organizing the assessment, facilitating the assessment process, reviewing the assesment results, and developing an action plan for improvement. This approach begins with a interactive workshop to brief company personnel on the assessment process and organize into groups to undertake a self-assessment. Consultant participation in the group self-assessment brings some objectivity and perspective to the process. The results of the individual break-out assessment groups are presented to the overall team and further validated. Finally, gap analysis is performed and the resulting needs discussed. The consultant facilitates discussion of an action plan. This process typically takes two to three days. A more comprehensive alternative is a rigorous, comprehensive and object consultant-led Program Assessment.
License Options
For questions or to order by purchase order or wire transfer, contact Kenneth Crow at +1 310-377-5569 or by email at: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Product Development Best Practices & Assessment Software

DRM Associate's Product Development Best Practices and Assessment (PDBPA) software describes 270 best practices identified from researching and examining many companies' product development practices from around the world.

best_practices

The PDBPA provides a structured benchmarking and assessment methodology for the product development process based on these best practices. While our experienced consultants have used and refined this assessment methodology for the last seven years (see Product Development Assessment services), we have now developed a software-based self-assessment that describes these best practices and guides company personnel through the assessment process. This provides an extremely cost-effective way to benchmark and improve product development performance. (see Benchmarking Best Practices to Improve Product Development) A companion product, the IPPD Best Practices and Assessment software, provides an assessment tool for an individual program developed under contract whereas the PDBPA provides an overall enterprise assessment. This assessment and improvement process is represented below.

NPD Improvement

These best practices have been organzied into twenty-eight categories covering strategy, organization, process, design optimization and technology.

npd_best_practices

In addition to describing the best practices, the assessment methodology contains questions to help probe at the use of these practices within a company (see Assessment Worksheet Example), an evaluation scale, and a weighting factor and performance rating. Performance is summarized to the category level, and, when compared to that of other companies, gives an indication of the urgency of improving the development process. Gap analysis (see Gap Analysis Example) is then employed to focus attention on the improvement opportunities that will yield the highest payoff. The software also relates the product development practices to six possible product development strategic orientations:
  • Time-to-market (development schedule)
  • Development cost
  • Low product cost
  • High product innovation and performance
  • Quality, reliability and dependability (robustness)
  • Service, responsiveness & flexibility to respond to new product opportunities & markets
Based on performance in the various related practices, the software assesses how well the development process is aligned to and supports the desired strategic orientation. Finally, a streamlined orientation based on 40 of the most key best practices is available for a streamlined assessment or use in smaller business units. The PDBPA software ues Microsoft Excel 97 or later to run. It is available for the Windows and Macintosh environments. The software includes further instructions on applying this methodology, descriptions of best practices, worksheets for performing the self-assessment, and summary reporting of the results. The software license fee is $495. It is a license for one computer at a single business unit site. Additional licenses for use within the same business unit site are $250. A business unit license is $3,000 and a corporate license is $5,000. The business-unit and corporate licensing unlock the practices so that they can be modified, e.g., practices added or deleted, wording and terms changed, or language translated. The software is shipped via email. Order with a credit card below or contact us with a purchase order. Training in this benchmarking and assessment methodology and in the use of the PDPBA software is also available. In addition to the self-assessment option, we can provide support in organizing the assessment, facilitating the assessment process, reviewing the assesment results, and developing an action plan for improvement. This approach begins with a interactive workshop to brief company personnel on the assessment process and organize into groups to undertake a self-assessment. Consultant participation in the group self-assessment brings some objectivity and perspective to the process. The results of the individual break-out assessment groups are presented to the overall team and further validated. Finally, gap analysis is performed and the resulting needs discussed. The consultant facilitates discussion of an action plan. This process typically takes two to three days. A more comprehensive alternative is a rigorous, comprehensive and objective consultant-led Product Development Assessment. Over 50 companies (see PDBPA users) have successfully used this software to benchmark their product development process, understand best practices, align product development practices with strategy, and improve their new product development process.
License Options
For questions or to order by purchase order or wire transfer, contact Kenneth Crow at +1 310-377-5569 or by email at: k.crow@npd-solutions.com