Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PDMA 2006 - Track 4 - Operational Excellence in the Midst of Uncertainty

Speaker: Jens Hamester (DaimlerChrysler AG)

Jens outlined their NPD process at DaimlerChrysler. It consists of a familiar-looking set of phases reticent of a stage-gate model. Here were some unique ideas he focused on:

What does Simplification mean? It does not mean disregard for all complicated parts nor does it suggest being overhasty, naïve, primitive, ordinary, or superficial. It does mean focusing on crucial points and essential interrelations.

What does Radical mean? Well again, it does not mean things like moving to extremes (extremism). It doesn’t mean getting ruthless, manic, or rowdy. What it does mean is attacking the roots of the challenge while retaining control of decision chronology.

There were a few guiding principles they used to guide their process. For these, I’m just pasting in the content of the slides because they were pretty good:

Rule 1: Use Simple Real World Metrics to Address Uncertainty in the Hazy Pre Product Development Stage

-Do not attack with even more complex evaluation methods
-Accurate methods can not (always) cover complex environments
-Use project ranking by distinguishing pure customer benefit
-Demand courage and entrepreneurship to promote innovations

Rule 2: Center AE Activities Around Today’s and Tomorrow’s Customer Buy Criteria.

-Strategic direction from brand positioning is used to define AE project portfolio
-Define not 20, but merely 4 fields of criteria
-Choose stable customer buy criteria for continuity
-Achieve critical mass within each main field

Rule 3: Place Small Strategic Bets by Tracking Future Trends on a Qualitative Basis.

-Initiate expert interviews with drivers, owners, scientists
-Identify driving forces for market developments
-Transform market development into corporate risks and opportunities with respect to possible disruptive elements

There was on more rule (4: Realization of Innovations Needs Discipline.) but I didn’t find it as useful to include.

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