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Product Development

You are what you make


Bring a big new idea to market. Reinvigorate existing products. And save time and cut costs getting there. No one’s going to argue against that plan – but making it happen is another thing entirely. Global integration and heightened competition are leading many organizations to add complex product development capabilities, but many lack the strategy, processes, tools or vision to make those new capabilities work efficiently. It’s hard to know where to begin and trying to satisfy a tight budget with quick-hit solutions can only add complexity.

Bringing the product development and engineering process to full efficiency takes both strategic and operational vision. Deloitte’s recommended approach is to combine process and organizational improvements with the implementation of a modern product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. We help clients lean out product development processes and link those to the PLM software capabilities. Learn more about the offering.

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Meet our people

  • Dan Ressler, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Mark Davis, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Brian Meeker, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

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Learn more about the offering

The lifeblood of your business
Development organizations are under pressure to increase the number of “big ideas” that will leapfrog the competition, capture additional market share and open new markets and segments. They are also being asked to reduce time to market and make existing products more profitable by removing component and manufacturing costs.

Successful product development and engineering requires coordinated business processes, good design collaboration infrastructures, uniform standards and the ability to translate customer needs into product features quickly and faithfully. It’s easy to spot big problems like product failures or late launches, but a flawed development process can also contribute to marginal problems like lower product quality or reduced returns on R&D investments.

How we can help

Bringing the product development and engineering process to full efficiency takes both strategic and operational vision. Deloitte’s recommended approach is to combine process and organizational improvements with the implementation of a modern product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. We help clients lean out product development processes and link those to the PLM software capabilities.

At Deloitte, we leverage a global network of more than 400 experienced Product Development and PLM practitioners. We use detailed, industry-specific process models based on years of hands-on experience. We also understand that each industry and business model faces unique product development challenges, whether the approach is make-to-stock, assemble-to-order or engineer-to-order. For example, the lack of a common engineering change management process that plagues an industrial products company after years of M&A bears little resemblance to the way an aerospace company might struggle with global design collaboration and tracking of serialized repair units.

Our professionals have the experience, track record, deep industry background and leading practice knowledge to tailor product development services for organizations in every industry. To each project, we bring proprietary tools such as:

A Product Development Diagnostic used to help identify and size the value of improvement opportunities to support the creation of a realistic business case to support funding

A Product Development Capability Maturity Model that helps assess current-state capabilities against world-class capabilities to support the creation of an executable transformation roadmap

Enterprise Value Maps (in some cases specific to a PLM application) that make it easier to map improvement opportunities to shareholder value to support the establishment of appropriate priorities early in the process

Lean Value Stream Analysis that can significantly reduce product development process complexity and increase engineering efficiency

Bottom-line benefits

We help our clients generate benefits such as:

  • Reduce non-recurring engineering costs by up to 30 percent
  • Reduce cycle time by up to 50 percent
  • Simplify design process information flow and reduce non-value-added transactions by up to 70 percent
  • Rebalance development activities with suppliers, decreasing costs and cycle time by up to 50 percent for critical processes
  • Rationalize design specs and reducing supplier test failures by up to 50 percent
  • Reduce sustaining engineering labor by up to 60 percent
  • Lower engineering change volume by up to 70 percent
  • Shorten engineering change cycle time by up to 80 percent

Six ways to get more value now

We’ve helped many companies around the world in their efforts to improve their new product development and lifecycle management capabilities. Some key lessons we’ve learned along the way are:

Strategically target idea generation. Instead of casting as wide a net as possible, focus on attractive market segments, industries and technologies as a starting point for ideation. Then target unmet needs in specific areas that make sense within your overall corporate strategy. Some innovation sustains the business, while some is disruptive. Make sure the business strategy and the innovation portfolio are always in alignment.

Be open to innovation no matter where it comes from. Forward-thinking businesses recognize that the “not invented here” mentality is a liability in today’s highly competitive environment. Look beyond your four walls to develop innovative new products and technologies.

Offer the right choices – not more choices. Reducing product line complexity takes a holistic approach that balances revenue against cost for product development, marketing, distribution and aftermarket service. Conduct periodic planning cycles that draw upon this approach to determine the product mix that delivers the most profit and customer satisfaction.

Make product development lean and flexible. To help make sure your revamped process is actually used to guide product development, minimize the number of steps and build in flexibility to accommodate the varying size and priority of different projects.

Don’t forget the data – and keep it simple. Product data is most effectively managed when the entire product lifecycle uses a single bill-of-material, standard CAD platform, single source of product record and standardized, lean change processes. That makes product development and enterprise data management part of a combined challenge.

Bring the people along. Configuring the technology can be the easy part. Product development initiatives can put a company through a paradigm shift and securing leadership buy-in and user adoption is often the greater challenge. Pay attention to training and change management as part of any change in your process.

Product Development in action

  • A global consumer health care company with 20 manufacturing locations faced a tangle of processes and lack of collaboration. These factors led to “tribal knowledge,” limited data visibility and slower time to market. Deloitte helped build a business case and roadmap; create data and process designs; recommend and implement needed technology and define a governance model. The result was a global, integrated PLM system that delivered a “single-source truth” across the entire product lifecycle.
  • A technology products company depended on new product development for more than half its revenue. It struggled with unclear decision-making, priorities that varied from business unit to business unit and an inconsistent view of what constituted quality. The company turned to Deloitte to help align its product development strategy and process. We conducted a complete product development assessment and redesign of the organization’s product portfolio development process, making recommendations to improve overall product development.
  • A global aeronautics manufacturer, recently carved out from a larger entity, was having trouble making the transition to serve multiple, external customers instead of one internal one. The product development process was fragmented and the tools to bring new customers and programs on board were lacking. Deloitte conducted a product development assessment; designed new PLM processes and built, tested and implemented the new system. The result was a highly accelerated product design process with improved global visibility, traceability and customer audit capability.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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