Achieving Excellence in High Technology Companies
Product Margins’ Improvement
Analysis of customer returns data and customer satisfaction surveys. The highest costs are incurred in the field (customer retention, logistics). The data will be analyzed (Pareto) in order to spot commonalities and trends over time. The findings could result in process changes in production or design changes in R&D.
- Analysis of manufacturing yields. This process will be done at different stages of production; components, sub-assembly, integration. The goal is to maximize the production yields at the latter stages of production by investigating robustness of design and adequacy of test coverage.
- Analysis of financial data. This data will be used to further gather insight into the integrity of the product life cycle from marketing requirements to release to manufacturing. The financial data should include all components of the cost of quality, i.e., the costs of not doing things right the first time. Examples are scrap, rework, and retrofit. They are sometimes reported under the heading of period costs.
It is understood that the software/firmware plays a key role in the product line and cannot be analyzed separately. Software regression testing according to a well defined test plan will also be required in case products do not conform to requirements.
Time to Market Improvement
Review the new product introduction process from idea to launch(as is). The key elements to a successful new product development process are:
- The formation of a multifunctional team
- Separation of technology development from product development
This is a key step that often is not properly implemented
- Clear definition of the specifications of the new product .
and the consequence is often a delay in the product introduction.
The product development process needs to be divided in steps (gates) each with a list of deliverables and the names of the persons responsible.
Manufacturability of the product has to be assured.
The pilot run has to be executed by the people who are responsible for the actual mass production.
Eliminating waste is always a good initiative since it doesn't add any value.
The best companies waste 25% of their resources. The waste comes in many forms, scrap and rework in manufacturing, ill defined processes in engineering, ineffective marketing , high inventories, field failures, customers' returns and uncollected receivables to name a few.
When the revenues are sufficient to generate a profit, waste is rarely addressed. Yet doing so will add tremendously to a company's success.