Benefits of Concurrency in Action
Learn from Leaders in Implementation at the CPD Conference on Concurrent Innovation at 3M
Concurrency has demonstrable benefits for improving performance and is making a rebound as so many of the popular interventions of the first decade of the 21st century have failed to deliver innovative new products cost effectively. Among the many stellar presentations at the next annual CPD conference, this highlights two cases because they point out actionable practices based on pillars of concurrency that you can readily implement to achieve cost- effective Innovation.
Jonathan Watson, Head of Global CPD Improvement Teams
Rolls-Royce formed cross-functional teams to deploy CPD for improvement at all three of its civil aerospace locations: Indianapolis, Berlin, and in Future Programs at its Derby headquarters in the UK. These teams are implementing practices that have a proven track record for driving not only time compression and cost reduction, but also innovation. The principle drivers identified by baseline research benchmarking with other companies including five critical areas:
- Early Cross-functional Team Formation in New Product Introduction because 80 percent of costs and innovative opportunities are determined during the initial 20 percent of the development cycle.
- Flexible, but disciplined processes for coaching teams in value creation using simple templates that can be customized for appropriate applications rather rigid conformance with lists of prescribed actions
- Strategic engagement so that all stakeholders understand how they contribute to business objectives and contribute to its ongoing achievement
- Operational agility so that people use collaborative tools and methods to tightly couple actions throughout the life cycle to deliver value efficiently as well as effectively including external suppliers as well as internal manufacturing and service people
- Innovation methods including collocated team spaces, idea suggestion boards, “hot spot” presentations on new ideas, reciprocal networking maps from work breakdowns to help collaboration, etc.
Do these five sets of fundamental concurrency practice make a difference? You bet. During the first year of the improvement initiatives Derby made significant gains toward best-in-class practices and have recently accelerated change by incorporating these practices into their business plan deployment. The global team for Future Programs is being transformed into a creative, more effective work environment that will enable Rolls-Royce to remain a global leader in aerospace.
The initiative lead by Jonathan is one of many underway at Rolls-Royce which is determined to deploy concurrency to achieve global leadership, e.g., another division participated in an EU Framework 7 research program called LeanPPD (Lead Product and Process Development). Through this program Rolls-Royce developed and applied Set Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE) methods & tools to a Gas Turbine Engine product development project.
The Stanley Works
Will Hill, former Corporate Head of Engineering and New Products, and Jerry Kardas, former head of global NPI
The Stanley Works is an iconic company in the history of American innovation. Their first breakthrough innovation occurred over a century ago by replacing a la carte hardware into pre fixe packages of components needed to perform a task. More recently Will and Jerry took Stanley to new highs by systematically deploying the pillars of concurrency.
- Promulgated a strategic vision specifically for NPI focusing on innovation sustained by the observations of “discovery teams” of how customers actually used their products
- Adopted a proactive, outpacing strategy of rapid, continuous improvement of existing products, e.g., hammer revamped every two years (2 patents)
- Adopted a simplified, adaptable NPI process on which all were trained to use globally
- Encouraged people to “dabble” at the front end of their NPI process to ensure creative
- ideas were considered up-front
- Hired people with prior product development experience, who were knowledgeable of the arcane rules of the NPI game
- Organized core teams requiring four key functions to participate in all meetings throughout the development cycle, e.g., engineering, manufacturing, procurement and marketing
- Used leading metrics as a process for tracking progress, e.g., participation of people organized as core team members at reviews
- Adopted common tool sets, e.g., ProE, Windchill
The results were spectacular. The percentage of sales from new product grew, time to market shortened, and margins enlarged. Stanley scooped many industry awards for innovation for several consecutive years. By applying concurrency from a total customer system perspective, one of their divisions grew rapidly into a billion dollar business. Changes in performance tracked with deployment of the pillars of concurrency as validated by independent assessment of their progress toward best-in-class practices
Stanley recently merged with Black & Decker, which also pioneered many innovative practices adopted by others in American industry such as “fusion cells,” collocated teams with bounded empowerment to execute their product development charter semi-autonomously. Because both Will and Jerry formerly worked at B&D, their presentation will provide an integrated view of best practices achieved by two noteworthy companies that have served as though leaders for American industry and have been regularly chronicled in best sellers like New Products in Half the Time and Forbes magazine.