Product Development Consulting and Training Customized Services

By: New Product Dynamics  09-12-2011
Keywords: Product Development , Product Development Consulting, Product Dynamics,

For over twenty years our product development consulting and training have guided manufacturers toward cutting-edge development processes for delivering successful new products faster. Use this table to see how these customized product development consulting and training services can deliver greatest value to you:

Objective Identify major improvement opportunities Evaluate or establish a solution for an identified opportunity Reach a common understanding of improved  practices
Time required 2 to 30 days Depends on the solution involved Usually 2 days
Outcome Prioritized list of opportunities (including buy-in in longer assessments) Solution in place with training in its use Five to 30 developers and managers understand new tools and agree on next steps
Benefit of engaging New Product  Dynamics Independent, expert assessment (consensus created in longer assessments) Faster implementation. Avoid common pitfalls Expert instructor. Actionable plans going forward
Cross- functional Essential As needed Essential
Management involvement Periodically to ensure alignment As needed to build commitment to new technique Initially: set expectations. At end: establish closure and confirm next steps

Below is additional explanation of each of these options:

  • Scope: Cross-functional, including at least R&D, marketing, and manufacturing and often also purchasing, finance, sales, quality, regulatory, and selected suppliers.

  • Duration: Two to thirty days. More complete assessments include much more factual data collection to greatly improve understanding and acknowledgement of the opportunities. This naturally leads to ownership of the issues by those who must implement the changes. In turn, it greatly improves the prospects for corrective action and enduring improvement.

  • Style: Top-down, collaborative, which means that we start broadly but narrow into the most potentially fruitful areas as we go. We create hypotheses as we proceed, and we test these by drawing facts from the client organization (usually from a selection of client projects). We enhance these tentative conclusions by working interactively with the client, both to test the validity of our path and to develop client ownership in the conclusions. In the end, our goal is to make the deliverable the client's action plan, not our conclusions.

  • Involvement: Frequent cross-functional and multi-level interaction with client personnel. Client understanding and ownership of the issues is vital, and often the best actions for improvement come from unsuspected places in the client organization. To ensure that  functions such as purchasing and marketing are engaged in the solution, we involve them in discovering it.

  • Methodology: Short assessments rely largely on semi-structured interviews with carefully chosen individuals and groups. More complete ones involve several proprietary techniques we apply as we work from general to specific findings.

  • Deliverables: Normally, an oral presentation and discussion for short assessments, computer-projected presentation for intermediate assessments, and a written report and briefing for full assessments.

Interestingly, management sometimes has a reasonable appreciation beforehand for what ultimately become the final conclusions. The assessment yields the comfort that these "hunches" are in fact the core issues and supports them with undeniable facts. Moreover, the assessment builds confidence in those from various departments, which consolidates the whole organization behind the change effort. In the end, it becomes their plan, not the consultant's. Everyone gains satisfaction that the firm's resources are being applied beneficially in making the identified improvements. Clearly, more complete assessments go further toward achieving such benefits than short assessments.

  • Objective: Provide assistance and guidance in implementing identified opportunities for improvement.

  • Source of opportunities: An assessment conducted by New Product Dynamics, the client, or jointly.

  • Types (typical examples):

  • Benefits: Although implementation can be completed without a consultant, expert guidance provides the assurance that the task will receive the attention needed to enjoy the improvement soon. In addiction, you receive the

    • Confidence that the result will be free of internal departmental biases.

    • Security that comes from applying the consultant's broad experience with similar implementations to avoid roadblocks and dead ends.

  • The material is customized to the audience by working with key managers to relate the content to where the organization is today and where -- and how fast -- it would like to improve.

  • Either exercises chosen by the client organization from the instructor's repertoire or a focused discussion relates the material to the specific opportunities the organization faces today.

  • A workbook for each participant that includes all slides used in the workshop.

    • Ideally, a respected client executive launches the workshop by setting expectations for improvement, for example, not only the magnitude desired but also the degree to which improvement should be focused at the participants' level versus broader opportunities.

    • At over a dozen points during the workshop, we stop and explicitly and individually note gaps and opportunities before they slip out of mind.

    • The last portion of the workshop covers techniques for organizational change, and then the participants build their action plans -- individually, as small natural work groups, or as a complete class -- as appropriate.

    • Again, ideally, the same executive who launched the workshop returns to "receive" the action plans and ensure that they are actionable and targeted at appropriate levels in the organization.

    • Two to three months after the workshop, the instructor returns for another day to extend the original learning and strengthen the action plans. We use the third day in any way mutually agreed -- after the outcome of the original workshop is apparent -- to extend the improvement.

This improvement-focused approach gives management confidence that the organization will indeed gain ongoing value from its investment in the workshop.

The two-day version just described is only the most popular option. Training sessions can be as short as thirty minutes, for example, when addressing corporate meetings. Such short sessions are usually much more focused and do not concentrate on action planning. Longer versions are also possible.

Public versions of the two-day workshop are offered by JF Pearson in (one day), , , and ; by Kavaq in , , and ; by Universal Training in ; the ; and the .

In general, we tailor combinations of services to meet client objectives.

Consider a recent engagement for a Midwestern United States manufacturer of pumps:

  • Built, from this discussion,  a list of 23 "Quick Hits" that the top management team selected for initial implementation. The CEO assigned each of these 23 to someone in the room before the session ended.

The deliverables in this engagement were

  • Handout package of the 139 executive presentation slides
  • Final briefing to the CEO and the heads of engineering of their two divisions

Keywords: Product Development , Product Development Consulting, Product Dynamics,