Articles

Development and application of lean product development performance measurement tool

The need of applying lean thinking to product development is becoming a must for the organisations to succeed in the current industry. This paper presents the development and application of a tool that helps to identify the actual status of the organisation in relation to the lean principles. Overview of the literature highlighted the need of developing a tool focused on assessing the implementation of lean principles themselves, rather than quantitative metrics. Based on the idea of the balanced scorecard, four perspectives, with their corresponding set of questions, were defined reflecting the enablers of the lean product development model proposed by the Lean Product and Process Development European project. A five-level scale was customised to reflect different readiness levels of lean implementation. The tool was used in case studies in two organisations; first in aerospace and second in automotive. Examples of measurement from two different organisations demonstrated the accuracy of the tool in assessing and defining the starting conditions for adapting lean principles and practices. Read more.


A Process of Generating Trade-off Curves to Enable Set-based Concurrent Engineering

Set-based concurrent engineering (SBCE) has got the potential to decrease time-to-market as well as enhance product innovation to be produced in good quality and cost effective manner. However, SBCE success needs a knowledge-based environment. One way to provide this environment is the use of trade-off curve (ToC). ToC is a tool to create and visualise knowledge in the way to understand the relationship between various design characteristics to each other. This paper presents a review of math-based and knowledge-based ToCs. Then proposes a process of generating and using ToCs in order to create and visualise knowledge to enable SBCE activities by the generation of design set. Finally, an industrial example of generating ToCs is presented to enable SBCE. Read more.


Define Value: Applying the First Lean Principle to Product Development

A long time ago, products were developed to meet simple and clear user needs. Often the customer would describe what they required directly to the craftsmen. With the extensive growth of complex corporate companies, the distance between the end user and the problem solver continues to increase, as does the complexity of user ambitions. This led to a difference between what the product development (PD) team thinks and what the customers actually say they value (Woodruff, 1997; Hu et al., 2009). The increase in production steps, complex business structures and increased enterprise interaction exacerbates the problem as additional activities can mean more cost. Read more


Industrial challenges in managing product development knowledge

To systematically create and share product development knowledge creates challenges for engineering companies. This paper presents an extensive study regarding the process of identifying such challenges in managing product development knowledge from the perspective of designers and engineers. This research is part of the LeanPPD, a project funded by the EU-PF7 (www.leanppd.eu), to address the need of European manufacturing companies for a new model, which extends beyond lean manufacturing and incorporates lean thinking into the product design and development process. A rigorous research methodology has been employed, which included the use of questionnaires and focused interviews with key informants from industry, involving forty-two product development engineers from nine different companies. The most significant concerns raised during the study concerned knowledge life cycle activities, product development environment and management. Thirty-eight challenges were identified, classified and discussed in order to provide the knowledge management community with practical evidence, and also to inform future research directions in managing product development knowledge. Read more


Industrial challenges in managing product development knowledge

To systematically create and share product development knowledge creates challenges for engineering companies. This paper presents an extensive study regarding the process of identifying such challenges in managing product development knowledge from the perspective of designers and engineers. This research is part of the LeanPPD, a project funded by the EU-PF7 (www.leanppd.eu), to address the need of European manufacturing companies for a new model, which extends beyond lean manufacturing and incorporates lean thinking into the product design and development process. A rigorous research methodology has been employed, which included the use of questionnaires and focused interviews with key informants from industry, involving forty-two product development engineers from nine different companies. The most significant concerns raised during the study concerned knowledge life cycle activities, product development environment and management. Thirty-eight challenges were identified, classified and discussed in order to provide the knowledge management community with practical evidence, and also to inform future research directions in managing product development knowledge. Read more


Lean Product and Process Development: A Value Creation Paradigm That Goes beyond Lean Manufacturing

The increased international competition in the current open global market is putting pressure on companies to improve the performance of their product development. This is to sustain and improve market share through the production of a high quality product in a cost effective manner in shorter time. This is because organisational survival and long-term growth depends on the introduction and development of new products. Manufacturing companies are in need of a new model that goes beyond lean manufacturing to ensure the transformation of the enterprise into lean environment. This is a response to customers and market demands of value creation, incorporating sustainability and customisation. The author believes that significant change in enterprise performance can come from the adoption of lean thinking throughout the entire product life cycle. Read more


The transformation of product development process into lean environment using set-based concurrent engineering: A case study from an aerospace industry

This article presents a transformation process towards lean product development in an aerospace industry. This transformation was achieved in two main stages: the first was to integrate the principles of set-based concurrent engineering into an existing product development model of an aerospace company. This stage included defining activities and associated tools. The second stage was to implement the developed model in a research-based industrial case study, a helicopter engine in this case. Three main outcomes were realised from this work. First, it presented an industrial case of lean transformation in product development, where the leanness of an existing model was enhanced by embedding set-based concurrent engineering principles. Second, the developed model was structured into a set of well-defined activities and associated tools that were previously scattered or redundant. Finally, the developed model was trialled in an industrial project of a helicopter engine, tested to evaluate its value in enhancing the innovation level and reducing risk. The work presented in this article focused on early stage system level design, and future work will extend the implementation of set-based concurrent engineering to sub-system and component levels. Read more


Towards lean product and process development

Successes in lean manufacture have led researchers and practitioners to consider extending ‘lean’ to different parts of the engineering enterprise, including product and process development (PPD). Lean product development (PD) has been understood to mean lean manufacture applied to PD, while the roots of lean PD – just like lean manufacture – go back to Toyota. This article presents the methodology adopted in order to pave the way towards a coherent lean PD model that combines lessons from the Toyota product development system (TPDS) with other best practises. The article provides a unique review of the lean PD research area, and a reference framework for the enablers that Toyota has employed for lean PD. An investigation of five engineering enterprises undertaken to search for evidence of the implementation of lean PD enablers through observation, document analysis and interviews is also presented. Some enablers have been informally applied, while few have been formally implemented, and no model was found to formally combine lean PD enablers into a coherent whole. This is the first article to critique attempts to describe lean PD and provide a definition for Lean PD. Read more


Set-Based Concurrent Engineering process within the LeanPPD environment

This paper presents a newly defined set-based concurrent engineering process, which the authors believe addresses some of the key challenges faced by engineering enterprises in the 21st century. The main principles of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE) have been identified via an extensive literature review. Based on these principles the SBCE baseline model was developed. The baseline model defines the stages and activities which represent the product development process to be employed in the LeanPPD (lean product and process development) project. The LeanPPD project is addressing the needs of European manufacturing companies for a new model that extends beyond lean manufacturing, and incorporates lean thinking in the product design development process. Read more