In order to have an effective producibility system, an
enterprise must be organized for producibility. Driven by a strong management
commitment to affordably meet the needs of the customer, the organization must
be capable of applying the principles of IPPD. To do so, the members of the
organization must be adept at functioning in Integrated Product Teams (IPTs).
Sound business practice advocates a product development
approach in which all necessary expertise is applied from the onset of the
process. This expertise includes the knowledge and experience of the company as
well as that of its customers and suppliers. In an effective producibility
organization, an IPT concurrently develops the product and the process.
Generally, IPT membership encompasses all organizational elements and includes
representatives of the customers and the suppliers.
A major influence on any product is the customer. Early
and continual involvement of the customer as a team member is an essential
element of the IPT process. Active customer involvement ensures that customer
requirements are well understood and that issues are resolved in real-time
during the product evolution process. It should be noted that, in some
industries and for some products, customer participation on an IPT may not be
appropriate or even possible. In those cases, the voice of the customer must
still be considered. This can be accommodated through participation on the IPT
of a representative of marketing who may use customer contacts, trade
information, and focus groups to assess customer desires and reactions.
Strategic partnerships and alliances with key suppliers
is conducive to open communication. This free exchange of information enables
rapid identification of supplier producibility constraints such as: product
costs, supplier availability and/or cost, and supplier capabilities.
Representatives of key suppliers should be included on the IPT. This provides a
direct link for the identification of alternatives to obviate any potential
As a multi-disciplinary team, the IPT must be empowered
and dedicated to achieving defined product and process goals. IPTs should have
the primary responsibility for implementing all key elements of producibility
during the entire product cycle. IPTs are effective at all stages of product
development, from concept through design and into full production.
Case Studies 5 and 6 , presented in Appendix D , provide
some insight into the successful implementation of teams in a production
Before IPTs became popular, an organization was usually
hierarchically structured, which hindered the effective dissemination of vital
information among and between participants. However, early involvement from a
multi-disciplinary IPT has been proven to result in reduced design cycle time
with fewer design changes downstream, and optimized personal performance levels
through team dynamics. Through active customer involvement, requirements are
better defined, understood, and negotiated. Designs facilitated through the use
of an IPT generally result in reduced product costs, increased customer
acceptance, and a better return on investment.
Staff: For an
IPT to be fully functional and successful, it must have committed resources
from the inception of the effort. Additionally, both customers and suppliers
should participate on the IPT. The members of the IPT must have appropriate
technical background in the areas they represent and should have knowledge of
other disciplines. Staffing an IPT early, in the initial concept phase of a
product development, is optimal. When compared to more traditional staffing
approaches, early IPT staffing has resulted in a reduced staffing requirement
during production, as shown in Figure
should be established that allow key IPT members, including the customers and
suppliers, to simultaneously view product development information. Team links
through local web sites or other forms of electronic data exchange improve the
team's ability to process and efficiently use information.
Tools and Techniques: The concept of IPTs and similarly entitled teams has emerged as the
key element for the implementation of IPPD. An overview of what these
multi-disciplinary teams can achieve and how to structure and use them is
discussed in Appendix F.1.9. An
exceptionally useful tool for capturing and documenting customer inputs is the
Quality Function Deployment (QFD) methodology (see Appendix F.1.16
). QFD facilitates customer interaction in the product
design process. Its objective is to methodically translate customer requirements
into technical requirements during each phase of product development.
Training: Training in "people" and communication skills is required, with special emphasis on team dynamics for all IPT members. Team leaders might require additional training on how the functioning of an IPT differs from traditional management. It also may be beneficial for the IPT members to receive fundamental training in other disciplines to further their ability to integrate information within the IPT structure.
Implementation of IPTs will vary among organizations
since the approach must be aligned with the prevailing corporate culture. In
organizations with a strong product management structure, a manager with clear
lines of authority and accountability may drive IPT leadership. Conversely, in a
functional organizational structure, IPT leadership may be more distributed with
overlapping control and accountability. Leadership may rotate among functional
elements as the design evolves and matures. For example, Systems Engineering may
lead the conceptual design phase while Manufacturing may drive production
transition efforts. However, if the design is particularly challenging for
Manufacturing, it may be appropriate for Manufacturing to lead the conceptual
However instituted, effective implementation is dependent
on choosing the right team. Three key considerations for the team are
membership, size, and location. The IPT should typically consist of
representatives with knowledge of key functional engineering, support
engineering, and other stakeholder areas such as quality, manufacturing,
procurement, customers, and suppliers.
There are several ways to structure the team -
functionally (groups organized by their technical specialties), by product
organization (a mix of disciplines), or as a matrix. A functional organization
can accommodate a rapidly changing knowledge base. Conversely, a product
organization can shorten the communication paths among team members and
designate a responsible person to whom all team members report. A matrix (or
hybrid) organization involves a person reporting to two different managers. For
example, a person from one of the technical specialties reports to both the
technical manager as well as to the product manager. This structure can be
beneficial when resources must be shared across a number of product teams.
Determining optimal team size is not easy since it
depends on many factors such as development scope, product complexity, product
innovation, timing, and technology. However, between seven to ten members is an
ideal size for a problem solving, decision making team. A team of this size can
hold meetings of all types while still allowing for informality and spontaneity.
A team of this size is, however, complex enough to require some structure to
While not essential, team co-location has many benefits,
such as: exposure to other points of view, the ability to address communication
problems among disciplines involved in systems development, and shorter
development cycles which result in lower costs from fewer design changes and
The IPT leader is a facilitator, motivator, and consensus
builder. The IPT leader has to encourage participation by all members of the
team and not allow a dominant personality to take control. The members of the
IPT must change their mind set from a focus on a specific discipline to a focus
on the product and its associated manufacturing processes. Each individual is
expected to offer his or her expertise to the team as well as understand and
respect the expertise available from other members of the team. They form the
communication links to the balance of the organization.