11 Principles of integrated product development are described.


Kenneth Crow
DRM Associates

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1. UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER NEEDS AND MANAGE REQUIREMENTS. Better customer relationships, frequent communication, and feedback systems lead to better understanding the customer's/user's needs. Customer involvement increases the probability of the product meeting those needs and being successful in the market. Methodologies such as Quality Function Deployment aid in defining customer needs and translating those needs into specific product, process and quality requirements. Once customer requirements are defined, track and tightly manage those requirements and minimize creeping elegance that will stretch out development.

2. PLAN AND MANAGE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT. Integrate product development and R&D with the business strategy and business plans. Determine the impact of time-to-market on product development and consider time and quality as a source of competitive advantage. Develop a longer-term perspective on investments in R&D and process technology and factor into business strategies. Communicate these plans to development and R&D personnel. Undertake fewer development projects at any point in time to allow a greater focus of resources and shorten development time.

3. USE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TEAMS. Early involvement of marketing/ program management, manufacturing, material, test, quality, and product support personnel in product development provides a multi-functional perspective and facilitate the parallel design of product and process, reducing design iterations and production problems. Collocation improves communication and coordination among team members. Empowered, self-directed teams have greater ownership and are more committed to development objectives, improving the chance of a successful design on schedule and budget.

4. INTEGRATE PROCESS DESIGN. The design of manufacturing and product support processes must be integrated with the design of products in order to optimize the performance, availability and life cycle cost of the product. Understand existing and planned process capabilities and constraints. Develop and apply producibility and supportability guidelines and utilize formal tools such as design for manufacturability/assembly and maintainability analysis tools to improve product designs. Integrate design and business rule checking into automated design processes.

5. MANAGE COSTS FROM THE START. Develop a greater awareness of affordability and life cycle costs. Involve development team members in the plans and proposals for new products or programs to obtain their input and commitment. Establish target costs and manage to those targets. Use tools to project product and life cycle costs and consider these cost projections as part of decision-making to proactively manage costs. Manage non-recurring development costs by effective planning; incremental, low-risk development; and managing project scope.

6. INVOLVE SUPPLIERS AND SUBCONTRACTORS EARLY. Suppliers know their product technology, product application, and process constraints best. Utilize this expertise during product development and optimize product designs to the capabilities of the "virtual factory" which includes these suppliers. Reduce your supplier base to focus more attention on a long term relationship and incentivize early involvement. Maintain schedule stability and be open to improvement suggestions from suppliers to create better products at lower costs.

7. DEVELOP ROBUST DESIGNS. Quality engineering and reliability techniques such as Design of Experiments, FMECA, etc., provide an efficient way to understand the role and interaction of product and process parameters with a performance or quality characteristic leading to robust designs and enhanced reliability. Apply "lessons learned" to avoid repeating past mistakes and conduct formal design reviews to assure all design issues and risks have been appropriately addressed.

8. INTEGRATE CAE, CAD, CAM & CASE TOOLS. Integrated CAE/CAD tools working with a common digital product model facilitate capture, analysis, and refinement of product and process design data in a more timely manner. Integration of CAM tools facilitate process design/definition with fewer errors, greater accuracy, and a reduction in leadtime to production. CASE tools to support a standard development methodology and software re-useability with object-oriented design bring a similar level of productivity to software. A single repository of product data minimizes data handling, redundancy and errors as product data is used by various functions. Features-based solids modeling, electronic design frameworks and ultimately standards such as STEP and EDIF facilitate the downstream interpretation, analysis and use of this product data. These tools, when intelligently and cost effectively applied, can lead to a streamlined development process and project organization.

9. SIMULATE PRODUCT PERFORMANCE AND MANUFACTURING PROCESSES ELECTRONICALLY. Solids modeling with variation analysis and interference checking allows for electronic mock-ups. Analysis and simulation tools such as FEA, circuit simulation, thermal analysis, NC verification and software simulation can be used to develop and refine both product and process design inexpensively. These tools should be used early in the development process to develop a more mature design and to reduce the number of time-consuming design/build/test iterations for mock-ups and developmental prototypes.

10. CREATE AN EFFICIENT DEVELOPMENT APPROACH. Form compact product development teams with highly experienced and motivated members. Minimize the number of development teams and the coordination required with skillful architecture and a minimum of interfaces. Create a "skunk works" environment by minimizing bureaucracy, empowering product development teams, and providing technical productivity tools. Align policies, performance appraisal, and reward systems to support these development objectives and team-based approaches.

11. IMPROVE THE DESIGN PROCESS CONTINUOUSLY. Re-engineer the design process and eliminate non-value-added activities. Constantly question why things are done and how they could be done better. Make quality the basis for decisions. Continued integration of technical tools, design activities and formal methodologies will improve the design process. Use benchmarking as an objective basis for comparing the organization and its products to other companies and their products and identifying opportunities for improvement. Invest in training and develop personnel to improve productivity.