Product development target: shorten time to the market

Product development target: shorten time to the market

In product creation we operate on a few stages, which depend on the industry we work in or on the product we create. There are lots of methodologies, including Six Sigma and its part Design for Six Sigma, a methodology, which gives you a set of instrument on how to create right product.

I don’t want to go deeper into Six Sigma as we have dedicated topic here. I’m writing additional post for both Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma to give you better overview on those methodologies and experience how to use them.

Getting back to the stages. Basically, we have a product idea, design, prototyping and serial production. You’re right, I especially missed customer requirements collection as in my vision it is a part of the product design and another thing is benchmarking and cost analysis, which are part of both design and prototyping stages depending on how complex your product (and its design) is.

I would like to ask you a question. What is our target?

1. Our target is to shorten time to end customer from development kick-off to mass-production

2. To choose all critical suppliers and technologies at 50% of the overall development process or even earlier

In modern world companies (and their engineering departments) do the job step by step designing a product, prototyping it, testing it and only at very late stages of the development they start thinking about industrialisation when as many percentage of the product is fixed and ready.

How does it impact the whole thing?

If the design is done/finished/frozen/ready to go, what ever word you like to use here. How would it be possible to optimise BOM cost, assembly operations, quality procedures and etc? In many cases those optimisations are taken for the next generation of the product, which can happen in couple of years and company’s customers get an optimised product only sometime in future.

There are lots of engineering arguments why it should happen exactly this way and what are the reasons they can not change this approach. I believe and I know that we can do it better.

There are some steps I propose to make in order to change this approach


1. Start with the price. Engage production and commercialization experts on early stages of product development;

2. Make a design reviews within cross-functional teams, including production, commercialisation people in one room frequently looking into how to reach the target price. Target price per function;

3. You definitely need to perform testing of the sub-systems, use software for simulations and etc.

Looking into those domains, I would propose to have a dedicated leader in every domain for every product group (o for clusters of the products).

For some organisations would be good to implement to important roles

Product build lead — Design for production expert, who works on product (s) from

Design to Prototyping to Serial production, whois role would be:

1. Work on a single product group (eg., Batteries);

2. To be a part of the engineering team;

3. Participate in Design reviews as manufacturing expert;

4. Help engineers to choose best technologies;

5. Arrange in house testing of intended production technics;

6. Participate in FMEA and PFMEA as production expert;

7. Lead prototyping and beginning of serial production

Why do we need Product build lead?

Industrialisation process begins @ very early stages of the design accelerating industrialization, including:

1. Advance production processes knowledge

2. Enhance production cost awareness

3. Improve early design optimisations

4. Build documentation for serial production, by learning how product is designed

Commercial lead — Cost and supply chain expert, who works on product (s) at all the stages

1. Work on a single product group (eg., Batteries);

2. To be a part of Commercialization team;

3. Participate in Design reviews as cost optimisation expert;

4. Help engineers to benchmark their product and optimize the cost, negotiating with suppliers;

5. Builds up a supplier base for each product together with engineering team.

Why do we need commercialisation lead?

1. Any technology is only good, if it meets customer requirements. Price is crucial.

2. A single person who stimulates team to search for right price

One more thing I would like to rise up here in this article is Cross-functional teams

We build a cross-functional team for every product group, including: Engineering, Industrialisation, Commercial, Strategy to get the products which meet all customer requirements in the most optimal way.