Consultant Profile
Gene Kania

Gene Kania is a Senior Consultant with DRM Associates, a consulting and training firm focusing on helping companies improve their new product development process. Gene has been involved in engineering, product development and business problem solving for 25 years. Since 1997, Gene has been successfully implementing effective portfolio, project and resource management systems in product development organizations to increase their productivity and throughput. His clients span many industries including electronics, pharmaceuticals and transportation.

Gene is a leader in using constraints management principles, critical chain project management (CCPM), finite capacity modeling techniques and other risk-management approaches to realistically and effectively manage the risk, uncertainty and flux inherent in product development environments. His implementations are a practical combination of concept & process training, facilitation and consulting to help companies improve quickly. He ensures implementation sustainability by using proven change management methods and engaging the leadership or executive management team of the client company. Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Helped a manufacturer of temperature sensors and controls implement lean product development practices. This also included the implementation of system tools to define and manage their product development process, conduct gate reviews, and manage a product portfolio.
  • In a pilot implementation, a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company achieved a 20-25% increase in throughput and productivity while improving teamwork and focus and reducing anxiety and building trust. Today, the client company is rolling out the implementation in other key areas of their business with good success.
  • Sixteen months after implementation ramp-up, a large, telecommunications equipment company delivered over 200 (major and minor) projects and measured project interval reductions of 30-50% on a consistent basis. On-time deliveries improved from 55% to over 90%. This was in a development organization of over 3000 people. By institutionalizing this implementation (through process changes and software tools), this organization was able to make permanent their new level of throughput and productivity.
  • In any product development organization, sales and marketing is counting on engineering and manufacturing to deliver products reliably and on-time. Trade shows depend on it, product marketing launches depend on it, and seasonal selling cycles depend on it. To solve this problem once and for all, a multi-billion dollar semiconductor company hired Gene to implement a solution. 6 months before the implementation, product deliveries were 30% late on average with a variability range of +/- 40%. 6 months after the implementation, product deliveries were 0% late on average (i.e. on-time) with a variability range of only +/-20%.
  • During his engineering career, Gene was involved in many new product introductions. He finished his engineering career as Chief Engineer for a major supplier to the automotive industry. He played a key role in 2 major new product introduction programs for leak free (zero emissions) exhaust connectors at Chrysler and General Motors, respectively. He also played a significant role in the re-design of some key metal bellows components and sub-assemblies for the Lockheed C-130 program.
  • During his business management career, Gene was Business Unit Director for a multi-division, worldwide supplier of engineered metal bellows. He had P&L responsibility for a $12 million dollar, 60 person (office and factory) business unit in the OEM Products Division serving primarily the oil and gas equipment (controls, transport and combustion) marketplace. He transformed the business unit from a functional organization to a market segmented organization. In changing the culture of the organization, he focused on key measurements related to business performance and achieved impressive results: on-time performance improved to consistently over 95%, lead times were reduced 20%, sales increased by 25% over 3 years while the profitability of existing business increased at the same time, and inventory turns doubled.

Gene is a graduate of the University of Illinois in 1980 with a Masters Degree in Engineering. Gene is a new product development trainer for the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA) and is certified as a New Product Development Professional (NPDP). At the annual PDMA International Conference, Gene teaches workshops ranging from the NPDP Review to Risk Management to Resource and Project Management. Gene is a member of the Certification committee for PDMA having been active in the development of the exam and the exam prep review.

Recently, Gene was awarded the designation EMCP (Engineering Management Certification Professional) by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of his engineering achievements over the years. He was also a member of the exam writing team for the Engineering Management Certification program launched by ASME in late 2004. He teaches a workshop on Resource Management for ASME and is a guest lecturer for the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago. He is a sought after speaker and regularly presents for professional organizations like DIA, PMI and ASQ. He also publishes articles on managing product development operations in various professional publications.