Lead time reduction for new products
Dawkins, Paul H.
The research, which was given the terms of reference, "To cut the lead time for getting new products into volume production", was sponsored by a company which develops and manufactures telecommunications equipment. The research described was based on studies made of the development of two processors which were designed to control telephone exchanges in the public network. It was shown that for each of these products, which were large electronic systems containing both hardware and software, most of their lead time was taken up with development. About half of this time was consumed by activities associated with redesign resulting from changes found to be necessary after the original design had been built. Analysing the causes of design changes showed the most significant to be Design Faults. The reasons why these predominated were investigated by seeking the collective opinion from design staff and their management using a questionnaire. Using the results from these studies to build upon the works of other authors, a model of the development process of large hierarchical systems is derived. An important feature of this model is its representation of iterative loops due to design changes. In order to reduce the development time, two closely related philosophies are proposed: By spending more time at the early stages of development (detecting and remedying faults in the design) even greater savings can be made later on, The collective performance of the development organisation would be improved by increasing the amount and speed of feedback about that performance. A trial was performed to test these philosophies using readily available techniques for design verification. It showed that about an 11 per cent saving would be made on the development time and that the philosophies might be equally successfully applied to other products and techniques.
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