Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
Polaroid typically develops dozens of new products each year. To guide the development of products, Polaroid formalized a structured process in the late 1980s called the Product Delivery Process (PDP). PDP's purpose was to reduce the break-even cost and time; determine a programmatic development approach; and more clearly identify the individual responsibilities for new products.
The process focuses on seven steps: idea exploration;
concept; feasibility; product development; design pilot; manufacturing pilot;
and commercialization. A PDP team (Figure 3-5), led by a program manager, combines personnel from market research, product design, manufacturing, marketing, sales, customer service, and distribution. In 1992, Polaroid modified PDP by integrating the process with Design for the Environment (DfE) elements and manufacturability efforts. To ensure a successful DfE integration, Polaroid secured support from senior management and held process personnel responsible for their contribution. For example, Polaroid allowed program managers to control their own program budgets, but held them accountable for the program's performance.
Specific DfE element changes to PDP were included in the concept and feasibility steps. Additions to the concept step included assessing environmental issues; examining environmental impact by the development program; identifying potential chemical, hardware, and packaging issues; and assuring that the product and its production comply with Polaroid's environmental goals. For example, Polaroid eliminated ozone depleting substances by removing the Teflon coatings on the friction points in its Captiva camera.
Through its efforts to reduce the amount of silver needed for film processing, Polaroid developed a medical imaging product which was completely silver free. Additions to the feasibility step included specifically looking for opportunities to eliminate environmental problems; identifying substitutes for targeted chemicals to be eliminated (e.g., polyvinyl chlorides, chlorofluorocarbons); and examining the product for maximum usage of post consumer waste (and reduction of the generation of consumer waste). For example, Polaroid was able to use approximately 63% of postconsumer waste content in its corrugated product packaging.
Polaroid continues to look for ways to improve its PDP. Current modifications underway include addressing additional environmental issues in the concept step and developing improved training methods for personnel who regularly use PDP in the workplace.