Manufacturing problems frequently originate years earlier in new product development. Examples include products that are hard to build or don't fit the production process; too many or too few products; unprofitable products that consume a disproportionate share of overhead; and products that were simply too late for their markets.
The problem is well understood; the difficulty is knowing what to do about it, and how to make effective changes that the entire organization will support. This paper presents a comprehensive yet practical approach to improving the new product development process. The emphasis is on an integrated approach that leads naturally to implementation of the improved process throughout the organization.
The approach is to recognize that effective product development spans three dimensions: the process, the technology, and the organization. The process is best described on a detailed two-dimensional map that the stakeholders can work on together and develop consensus around. The technology refers to the tools that facilitate and automate parts of the process; it is important that the tools fit the process. And the organization dimension includes the challenging issue of implementing large-scale change. This paper presents examples of each of the three dimensions and discusses their integration for effective change.