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Orchestrating Your Product Development Process with Milestones

Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups. Yet many companies struggle to successfully create and employ milestones; and some don’t even understand their relevance beyond updating senior leadership.

Chrysler Implements Flexible Manufacturing

Challenged by an increasingly niche-oriented automotive market, The Chrysler Group (Auburn Hills, MI) must increase the number of models it offers while decreasing its capital investment. The company plans to offer 50% more models in 2009 compared to 2004, according to John Felice, VP of manufacturing, technology and global enterprise for Chrysler.

Creating New Value at Toyota

I traveled to Toyota headquarters in Japan with Jeff Liker for a research project. We wanted to learn more about the engineering and collaboration that created the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the strategy and innovation behind hydrogen vehicles, and how they had adapted and improved their development system to meet the increasing demands of the ultra-competitive global auto industry.

To U-Shape or Not to U-Shape?

Batch and queue is the hallmark of a mass production system. Parts are processed, moved in large quantities to the next process, wait for their turn, are processed, and moved as a batch to the next process.

Shop-Floor Monitoring Critical to Improving Factory Processes

Process improvement encompasses a wide range of tools, techniques and strategies. When properly deployed, shop-floor data collection and monitoring systems can help factory-floor managers leverage key data metrics including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and total effective equipment performance (TEEP) that measure machine uptime and pinpoint bottlenecks or other problems in order to improve machining performance.

Dunnage: Often Ignored, Always Important

Dunnage used to ship and process automotive parts on the shop floor is a key component in the overall manufacturing process, yet it is often overlooked when companies are working to make lines lean and green. Today, it is important that manufacturers know that most dunnage used to transport parts from start to finish can be reused for the lifetime of production.

Applying Lean to New Product Development

Waste isn’t to be found only in a company’s operations and manufacturing activities. It can be a drag on innovation in the R&D department as well. As businesses in every sector make their way through an uncertain economy, launching new products that deliver value to customers and create new revenue streams is a critical but difficult task.

Lean Techniques: Yokoten

If you have never heard the term Yokoten, prepare yourself. It has been added to the Lean Operations lexicon as an important activity. Yokoten is being used by lean firms to help them become leaner. Yokoten is a Japanese term that can be roughly translated as “across everywhere.”