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Lean in Research and Development

A strategic choice for an innovative business

Research Centers are often the heart of innovation. Their effectiveness is key to the rapid evolution of existing products and the timely development of new products/services.

Often kept at a distance from daily production, they exist in what amounts to a research ‘bubble’ leading to long response times and outcomes that can be disconnected from the needs of the business.

Application of the Lean principles of agility and operational excellence can help by redefining work processes that break the bubble and establish cross-functional teams working across divisions – from marketing and sales to production – to speed response times and ensure more creative and innovative outcomes.

Lean in action…

Internally: Seeing, sharing, standardizing

  • Changes in the design of the work space to encourage interaction and sharing
    • a virtual area organized to encourage the sharing of information and reduce lead times involved in the search for information
    • a physical area for easier discussions through regular meetings
  • Well-defined and communicated standards for all project activities.
  • A visual management system that outlines project activities, highlights milestones and delivery dates.
  • A project management and performance tracking system that visually outlines agree-to project parameters, work standards and time lines so any deviations are immediately apparent allowing the project team to elicit countermeasures.

Externally: Decompartmentalization and the development of agile workarounds

  • New project development methods and interactions with all players
    • a virtual and physical Oobeya room.
  • Short design, development and test cycles to learn and create constant interaction with potential customers, in a strategic partnership.

Productivity can tailor an improvement program focused on the unique needs of research centers. Our delivery models are team-based and designed to assist employees in learning, applying and sustaining the improvement practices.

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