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Lean Product Development. How to Create Flow? Reflection after a 4 Years Implementation in One Business Unit - Part 1
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published April 5, 2016 by SAE International in United States
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During the 4 last years, Lean has been successfully implemented in one of the Tenneco’s Business Units: Ride Performance. This paper reflects on the results and more specifically on the third principle of Lean  “How to make flow” and on the fifth principle “To strive for perfection” obtained in the fields of “Product Development” related to Processes, Tools and People.
Processes and Hard Tools. How to improve the flow in the engineering processes?
It will be shown that
- In general standardized processes supported by some integrated tools and, more specifically
- Some workload leveling in testing, CAD Departments,
- Standardization in design processes, testing procedures and prototypes development processes and
- Standardization and availability of components and parts for prototype building
are key enablers to enhance flow in the Product Development.
Additionally the application of some Poka Yoke principles improves the Product Development quality and front loading of the development process ensures the efficient realization of an optimized product solution. The hard tools are defined as tools supporting the processes and the people in their daily business. A couple of examples illustrate how the tools are bolstering the engineering flow. An example shows how to speed up some processes such as testing, the CAD design or the building of prototypes by sharing resources globally, i.e. efficiently making parts or components available from one engineering center to other locations. The integration of several local databases into one global standardized database helps the end user to both identify the location where resources are available and use it.
Another example illustrates the process and the tools to analyze and benchmark the competitor products and technology trends. This tool employs standardized test procedures and report templates.
People. To increase the competences of the Product Development group the skills are properly identified and reviewed on a regular basis by the manager. Coaching, Mentoring, Knowledge Sharing and Lessons Learned are supported by the function leaders whose roles and responsibilities include continuously improving the standards of their specialty and sharing of it within the organization. The Change Agents, who propagate the continuous improvement spirit, work closely with the functional leaders to help to identify opportunities for improving and supporting the execution of work by using structured problem solving methods.
Soft Tools. The Soft tools  are defined as tools supporting
- Communication to drive alignment and commitment including the use of Visual Management.
- Problem Solving technics including PDCA and Continuous Improvement.
- Knowledge collection, Lessons Learned and Sharing
Visual Management is a powerful tool to share information, to create transparency, to align and finally gain clear commitment of the stakeholders. Some examples as Obeya room and Cockpit will be presented.
PDCA and problem solving are disciplined methods to identify, define, solve problems, driving a systematic behavior and thinking to continuously improve the current business.
Lessons learned and Knowledge Sharing processes are supported by some tools to select, approve and finally share the information to the right audience.
An efficient way to capture the lessons learned and the experience is to integrate design guidelines, generic DFMEA,DVP, BOM and Drawings into a tool which provides guidance and support the product design process. This tool is particularly efficient knowledge transfer method when bringing new engineers on board.
CitationGarcia, P., Radous, J., Krol, A., Bosek, J. et al., "Lean Product Development. How to Create Flow? Reflection after a 4 Years Implementation in One Business Unit - Part 1," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-0346, 2016, https://doi.org/10.4271/2016-01-0346.
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