Original Date: 06/05/2006
Revision Date: / /
Information : Cross-Functional Product Support Integrated Product Teams and Life Cycle Value Stream Managers
Rockwell Collins has engaged a new structure to that provides increased value to its customers. Life cycle value steam managers will now be responsible for a product’s entire life cycle, leading to improvements in cost, quality, and delivery.
Rockwell Collins has implemented a new process in which life cycle value stream managers will be responsible for a product’s entire life cycle. This is a marked difference from the previous way of conducting business when organizations were designed around functional area in which engineers designed the products, manufacturing made the product, quality audited it, and finance kept the books. In this stove-piped organization, the many people working on a single product within their functional area could have conflicting priorities. By suboptimizing each of these disparate sections, requirements were simply “thrown over the fence” to the next group. Little interaction or collaboration was possible, with the resultant lack of communication creating duplicated efforts. Employees and customers suffered as a result of this bureaucracy.
Under the new plan, Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) include engineers, procurement specialists, financial specialists, and manufacturing support staff. One program manager, or life cycle value stream manager (LCVSM), is established as a focal point to coordinate efforts between different organizations. Rockwell Collins has defined a product’s life cycle that describes the steps in a product’s evolution. The company’s life cycle defines both the tasks to be performed within each phase and milestones, with each milestone having clearly defined decision areas and planning paths. This series of decision points (DPs) consists of everything from the strategic decision to enter a market to the decision to exit a market. The new focus on customer value and the integration of weaving all the DPs under a single point of contact has made a difference. Periodic reviews are held to allow the separate section under each LCVSM to relay information to the IPTs, with frequent transmission and feedback of information creating unprecedented collaboration among the different IPTs. Collaboration obstacles and barriers will continue to be broken down as this process becomes more ingrained in the culture of Rockwell Collins.
This community of individuals will also allow all members of the value stream to provide input to each other. Issues that were previously “thrown over” to manufacturing can now be addressed from an enterprise point of view. The ongoing breakdown of communication and collaboration barriers will position each value stream to become more agile and flexible in the future.
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