Lean product development is a process of product development that began with the intention to reduce waste (material/time) and increase productivity. Thus, the company would see higher profits and the customer would benefit from greater value. Toyota was the first company to utilize this process. In 2000 they launched 14 new products, which was a greater number than Gm’s entire product line.
Toyota saw that their product development team was getting too tied up in iterations and research. Constantly developers were falling into this cycle repeatedly and they, along with the rest of the development team, were operating inefficiently. A major reason why this vicious cycle existed was because every segment of product development was operating individually. Toyota figured, “Hey, let’s have everyone work together rather than handing off jobs each time an objective was complete.” This strategy was extremely beneficial not only for the company building the product, but for the customer using it as well.
Lean Product development while require any outsourced horizontal company to become completely vertical. All teams must work in harmony for the process to work correctly.
First you must define the specific value that you will bring to a customer base with this new product. By combining what already exists in the market with analysis you have conducted on consumer needs and demand, you are able to make an educated solution on whether your product will sell well. Once the value factor is determined, each team within the lean product development process are able to identify what their role will be in adding this value.
The following step incorporates all parts of the product development process. Design, engineering, manufacturing, modeling, assembling, and testing all must be on the same page. The traditional development process method was for design to pass off to manufacturing for them to figure out how to them assemble the product. Once assembled, the testers were to figure out on their own how to test the product correctly. This process was extremely inefficient. That is why it is important to work with a company that vertically integrated in the entire process. From product design sketch to inventory delivery, having the same group of individuals by your side is what makes the process, “lean.”
Next you need to take a macro level look at the entire process. Doing this enables you to find steps in the process that do not contribute to the development of the product. Doing so is how firms make their process faster and cost efficient.
The next to last step in the lean product development process is to create a prototype and test it. This enables you not only to find out what your potential customer base thinks, but you are able to complete the lean development process and see how much value it added to your company.
The final step is to iterate your product. Undoubtedly, you will have to iterate. But with your newly established lean product development process, the iterations should be easily done and kept to a minimum. This final step enables you to place an inventory order with peace-of-mind and confidence knowing that you have created a quality product, in an efficient manner, that solves a problem for a group of people within society.
If you want to get the ball rolling on your idea, contact us today to see how we will apply lean product development to your product development.