Lean Tech Product Development
The nexus between time to market and lower costs
How effective is your product development group in efficiently bringing out new and innovative products? How agile is it in meeting narrow launch windows? How have you driven down engineering churn? What are the key competitive fractures in your organization and how can you turn them around to deliver a profitable revenue stream?
If there's one thing tech executives are looking for, it's help in identifying effective ways to drive down costs and speed time to market. It didn't take an economic downturn to focus their attention on this, although it certainly magnified the situation.
Certainly tech organizations already have been addressing shorter product lifecycles and frequently changing market demand, the task of managing a complexity of product across multiple disciplines requiring additional collaboration and, of course, global competition. R&D departments are being tasked to cut budgets while turning out more innovative products. All these interwoven challenges have insinuated themselves into the tech executives' realm of decision making, even as they deal with the fundamental ones of operating at light speed while managing an enormous amount of product information across the global supply chain.
And, while the economy has put pressure on all businesses to be leaner, high-tech companies face added challenges specific to engineering design. The complexities inherent in their products require careful engineering to ensure product reliability. The drive to “green” and sustainability means that product designs must incorporate reduced power consumption in products like integrated circuits, creating yet more complexity. And, of course, creating advanced technologies requires the synchronization across multiple disciplines, especially mechanical, electrical and software. When it comes to engineering in the high-tech realm, it's hard to know where to begin to be a lean organization and improve the bottom line.
That's why we believe improving the business of tech development with a systematic, data-driven approach must be a top priority. And, it's why lean product development is finally making inroads in the high-tech industry. Yes, it's been a widely adopted process since the 1980s—specifically in supply chain management and manufacturing operations. But, the principles—to reduce non-value added works and promote efficiency—are only now beginning to penetrate into high-tech product development organizations now that these groups are being viewed as a major performance differentiator in today's competitive environment.
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