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Lean Product Development

Lead Product Development as esposed by Toyota Motor Company is an effort to use lean principles in the design process.  Like other lean concepts, the focus is on continuous improvement and waste reduction.


Sometimes the principles of lean product development don't seem very lean, but that just means one has to look a little deeper.  Establishing customer-defined value reduces the waste of doing things that don't add value.  Front loading the process reduces the waste of not exploring the design space sufficiently, leading to conceptual errors in execution.  Rigorous standardization reduces the waste of starting every design from a blank piece of paper, when there were elements already in hand that would have served the same purpose.  

1.   Establish customer-defined value;

2.   Front-load the PD process;

3.   Create a leveled PD process flow;

4.   Utilize rigorous standardization;

5.   Develop a Chief Engineer system;

6.   Organize to balance functional vs cross-functional                   expertise;

7.   Develop towering technical competence;

8.   Fully integrate suppliers;

9.   Build in learning and continuous improvement;

10. Build a culture to support excellence and relentless                 improvement;

11. Adapt technology to fit people and processes;

12. Align through simple visual communications;

13. Use powerful tools for standardization and                               organizational learning.

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