Featured Workshops

Quality Planning

Quality is assumed as an important component or any product.  As such, it must be effectively addressed by the product development process.  We can assist with this objective in a number of ways.

Quality Documentation

Quality standards such as ISO9001 require that the product development process be defined, documented and then the process followed.  We can help to define and document the process to meet ISO9001 standards.

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)

While APQP originated in the automotive industry, this quality framework is being adopted and used by many other industry segments.  We can review your product development process and practices and identify steps needed to establish an APQP process.  We can help implement the various documents and practices to support APQP.  And we can conduct training in the APQP process (see our Advanced Product Quality Planning Workshop).

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Design for Six Sigma is another quality framework and set of tools to achieve quality and reliability in the development of a new product.  DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design and verify) or IDOV (identify, design, optimize and validate) are used to describe the Design for Six Sigma process.  We can help define and document this process and implement the various practices and methods to support DFSS including:

NPD Quality Methods Training

We offer a number of hands-on workshops in various aspects of quality including: For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates Email: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Product Development Assessment

DRM Associate's Product Development Assessment (PDA) methodology is used benchmark and assess your organization's development process against 270 best practices for product development. This assessment serves as a benchmark and identifies the highest impact opportunities for further improvement. This overall methodology is described in Benchmarking Best Practices to Improve Product Development. The assessment would typically take one to three weeks depending upon the organization's size and the complexity of the development process. Prior to conducting the assessment, we would review your organization chart and any other descriptive material you provide and discuss your product development environment by phone. Based on this, we would typically conduct four to ten days of interviews, walk-through's, and process reviews. Twenty-eight product development dimensions are addressed:

  • Business and Product Strategy
  • Product and Pipeline Management
  • Technology Management
  • Management and Leadership
  • Early Involvement
  • Product Development Teams
  • Organizational Environment
  • Process Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Understanding the Customer
  • Requirements and Specifications Management
  • Development Process Integration
  • Supplier/Subcontractor Integration
  • Product Launch
  • Configuration Management
  • Design Assurance
  • Project & Resource Management
  • Design for Manufacturability
  • Product Cost Management
  • Robust Design
  • Integrated Test Design and Program
  • Design for Operation and Support
  • Product Data
  • Design Automation
  • Simulation and Analysis
  • Computer-Aided Manufacturing
  • Support Technology
  • Knowledge Management
At the conclusion of this review, we will sit down with you and other members of your management team to offer specific recommendations as well as debrief you using our assessment forms. Where necessary, we would explain certain lean product development and other concepts to your management team so that they would understand why a recommended improvement was appropriate. We can discuss priorities based on gap analysis (weak rating versus a strong importance of the dimension), dimensions that seem out of balance, and our experience. We can then help develop a preliminary action plan to "close the gap" and improve in areas related to the company's critical success factors. We will leave a copy of our Product Development Best Practices and Assessment software with you so that you can perform on-going self-assessments in the future. Training in this benchmarking and assessment methodology is also available. This feedback can identify specific opportunities to improve the product development process and can result in significant reductions in development/modification costs, product costs, and engineering changes as well as improved product quality and time-to-market. This assessment and the subsequent improvement efforts can pay for themselves many times over. The Product Development Assessment Presentation provides more information on this methodology and our approach. For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates Email: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Process Definition & Improvement

Having a well-defined, but streamlined product development process is important. Relying an an ad-hoc approach or process is not efficient.  An ad-hoc process forces development personnel to re-create a process and plan each time and forces project team members to re-learn the process and project expectations on each new project. We have experienced four situations where we can help an organization define and improve its product development process.

  • The organization lacks a well-defined process and project teams essentially recreate the process for each project.
  • The organization has a process but it lacks missing elements causing issues with projects and the resulting products.
  • The organization has processes that were created by each functional area, but they are not well-integrated. This leads to lack of effective coordination and management.
  • The organization has a well-defined process but it is to rigid and takes too long to execute.
We can help define, integrate or improve your product development process.  Our extensive experience across many industries and with identifying best practices positions us to very effectively work with you to define or improve your process. If your organization's issue is a process that is too rigid and time-consuming, we can help streamline or lean out your process by applying best practices and lean product development principles and practices. We offer the two basic consulting approaches. The first approach to is more effective when there is a need to improve or better integrate the product development process.  We would start by conducting an assessment and reviewing your existing process.  We can undertake a formalized Product Development Assessment or conduct a less formal review of your process to identify the issues and opportunities. We can then undertake to suggest and define needed improvements to your process. This general process improvement or process reengineering approach is illustrated below. image20 (1) The second approach is to conduct a Process Definition Workshop with key people in your organization. This workshop would start by defining your phases and gate reviews. Then we would facilitate this group to define the tasks, deliverables and responsibilities in each phase. We can facilitate the workshop group identify process shortcomings and investigate fixes and improvements. We can suggest improvements and approaches based on our experience assisting other companies improve their business processes. We can 1.) serve as a sounding board for this group to discuss their ideas, 2.) provide an objective viewpoint to mediate differences of opinion, 3.) insure this group is not unnecessarily placing constraints on themselves, 4.) champion the improvements in the face of organizational resistance, and 5.) insure this group is going far enough with their process improvement efforts. Read more on the Process Definition Workshop. Our philosophy is to work through your personnel to achieve commitment to the changes. We can then assist with developing an implementation plan, conducting training, implementing the improvements, and monitoring the results. The improved results through our assistance will pay for itself many times over. For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates Email: k.crow@npd-solutions.com

Design Reviews and Gate Reviews

We can help implement improved design review and gate reviews processes as part of improving the effectiveness of your product development process.  Each type of review requires three steps: preparation, the review, and the follow-up actions.  Weaknesses in any one these areas can undermine the effectiveness of the review.  In addition, other common issues we have observed are:

  • Limited agenda or topics addressed in a design review
  • Gate reviews that delve too far into the technical aspects of the design itself
  • Too many gate reviews which slow down the process
  • Lack of discipline or delays in conducting design reviews or gate reviews
  • Gate reviews which never kill less desirable projects
We can assist with implementing or improving the design review and/or gate review process with the following steps.
  1. The first step would be to review any relevant documentation describing your product development process, gate review process, and design review process.
  2. Next we would identify gaps in the design review and/or gate review process.
  3. We would then review a design review or gate review package prepared prior to the review. We would observe a typical design review or gate review and note how they were conducted and the follow-up actions noted.
  4. Based on these steps, we would prepare and present our findings and recommendations.
  5. Upon agreement with the recommendations, we would create or update the necessary documentation describing how to conduct one or both of these types of reviews.
  6. We would then prepare and conduct training in how to better conduct one or both of these types of reviews.
  7. Finally, we would participate in a subsequent design or gate review and provide coaching or feedback on how to better conduct the review.
For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates Email: k.crow@npd-solutions.com