The following tools have been developed under the EUFP7 LeanPPD project, incorporated as part of the LeanPPD model to support the concept of Set Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE):
Lean product and development needs a continuous tracking of Product Development (PD) performances to enable companies to lead their journey to LeanPPD.
The LeanPPD Self-Assessment and Transformation Tool provides a ready-made platform to assess the maturity level of companies in the application of product design and development of lean thinking. This tool incorporates qualitative and quantitative metrics of lean practices, and companies can use it to measure their leanness and map where they stand in the lean journey. The tool uses a five-step change process to help partner companies identify their “AS-IS” state and define “ TO-BE” state.
Quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs) have been developed to create the proposed five levels of the LeanPPD Self-Assessment Tool, with the acronym SMART (Start, Motivate, Apply, Review, Transform). This tool is based on the balanced scorecard model. Further, the tool proposes an anonymous benchmarking method that companies can use to compare their performances with other similar industries.
The five levels of the LeanPPD journey are:
- Level 1 (Start): No Lean Thinking with some awareness
- Level 2 (Motivate): Getting Started
- Level 3 (Apply): Basic LeanPPD implementation
- Level 4 (Review): LeanPPD Continuously Measured & Improved
- Level 5 (Transformed): LeanPPD Best Practices Identified and Shared (internally/externally)
In the first step of the assessment, some qualitative lean practices are used to ask and map partner companies across the different levels. The lean practices have been clustered in four major perspectives; cost and time, new product development process, tools and multi-skilled people.
The second part of the assessment consists of quantitative KPIs to measure the four perspectives. Companies can select any measures that make more sense to their application from the list of measures given in a library. Therefore, by using both qualitative and quantitative assessment it will be possible to map the current and future states of the leanness of a new product development process.
The tool is already available in web-based form for easy usage by the project’s industrial partners.
There are many phases within product development, most of which generate vast amounts of data. This can result in data disconnect points causing delays, added cost and general frustration to the team. The use of an integrated tool to support all of these phases e.g. CAD/CAM or KBE removes this disconnect and thus levels the flow of information. The same level of disconnect between process improvement tools, such as Business Process Management and Value Network Diagrams also exists. However, there is no single tool to encompass all of these elements of process improvement. Thus, the objectives of the PD-VMT are to develop tools and approaches for value creation, waste elimination and product life cycle-based cost optimisation within product design and development.
The model consists of three layers of information:
A data model (ontology) containing known entities of waste and value
Standard data in order to minimize data re-entry
Adapted data based on company data gathering
From these three levels of data companies will be able to generate a personalised process analysis improvement plan.
Since the methodology will be validated within Business Cases it will benefit other industrial sectors outside the LeanPPD consortium. In particular, this method will be easy for European SMEs to adopt.
The concept of lean in production is now evident in industries. The eight production wastes as defined by Taiichi Ohno are something any manager can tangibly see.
However, wastes in product design and development process are not as easy to identify or to ascribe as waste. Neither is it easy to maximise customer value in product development. At the initial fuzzy front end of new product development, considering alternatives as predicated in a set-based approach could be considered waste. However, considering such alternatives may well enhance customer value. It is necessary at some point to constrain the engineers, who being knowledge workers, think that whatever they do is for the better of the new product they are developing and for the better of the company. Studies show that 80% of engineers’ time is wasted on non-value adding activities. Wrong understanding of customer value, unnecessary meetings, waiting for information, receiving and giving wrong information, and un-utilised knowledge are some of the many wastes in PD.
As wastes in PD are specific in different industries, generalising does not help create a panacea method to eliminate these types of wastes. In the Lean PPD project, some learning methods and games are under development to help designers and project managers reflect to discover wasteful design activities that affect performances. The LeanPPD learning kit has four modules:
Value and waste game