Doing more with Less – Focus on NPD/ R&D

November 17, 2015 - 3 minutes read
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Competitiveness and performance are crucial for any organization. The quest for improving these factors is a never ending journey and one of the key enablers would be creating the ability to do more with less. In this series of posts, we will discuss how to do more with less, in different parts of the organization, starting with New Product Development (NPD)/ Research and Development (R&D).

NPD/ R&D are, operationally speaking, a project environment, every new product being developed is a new project and normally every NPD/R&D department is a multi-project environment where the same resources participate in more than one project at the same time.

In project environments, unlike production ones, there is no evident flow, there is no “product” moving from one process to the succeeding one. However, imagine this environment as if every resource performing a task is actually holding a baton they need to pass on to the succeeding activity and there you have it again – a flow.

To complete projects faster, it is clear that the desired mode of operations should be, that each resource executing a task will do it with urgency, seeking to pass the baton to the next step as soon as possible.

To complicate the image a bit, unlike a relay race in project environments there are a few batons moving simultaneously and therefore in addition to the speed of moving them from one task to the succeeding one, the flow of batons needs to be synchronized, and especially priority between them needs to be crystal clear.

Contrary to the common belief that complex realities need complex solutions, if one accepts the above, than what is required to expedite the speed of projects and meaningfully enhance productivity (do more with less) what is required is just two simple rules:

  1. While executing a task, do it as quickly as possible (of course not compromising quality)
  2. Set (and follow) priorities based on the effects of delays on the completion of the project as a whole (and not the completion of the task)

And the results, well we commonly achieve anything between 25% to 50% cycle time reduction coupled with 25% to 100% increase in productivity. Doing much more, with less and contributing to enhanced competitiveness and performance.

 

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