Posts Tagged ‘Capacity Utilization’

Want More New Products? Reduce Capacity Utilization

Congratulations. You’ve managed to keep your product development engine running. Good work.  But now the hard part. Marketing and sales know new products are a key to profitability, and so does the CEO. So they’ve all asked for more new products, and now you have more active product development projects in the pipeline. The product development folks will do whatever they can to crank out the products. But can they get it done?

When does the product pipeline become too much for your product development engine to handle? We all know you can’t keep adding more new product development projects without adding capacity or improving productivity. Sure you can ask your product development engine to do more (and more), and it will try; but at some point it will run out of gas. So, ask yourself: Has your product development engine run out of gas? How can you tell? If it hasn’t, do you know how many miles are left in the tank?

If you don’t measure it you can’t improve it, that’s what the black belts say. But what to measure? What are the right metrics to tell you if your product development engine is out of gas? One of the best books on the subject is Managing the Design Factory, by Don Reinertsen. The rest of the post is strongly shaped by Don’s book, if not taken directly from it. Remember, genius steals.

The best metrics are simple, relevant to the objective, and are leading indicators. Simple so they’re easy to interpret; relevant so they move you toward the objective, in this case launching more new products; and are leading indicators, in that they are predictors of outcomes, so you can take action before catastrophic outcomes occur.  Here are three good ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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