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Bmw on Product Development Performance

In: Business and Management

Submitted By JunHongDon
Words 10111
Pages 41
The Effect of “Front-Loading” Problem-Solving on Product Development Performance
Stefan Thomke and Takahiro Fujimoto

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the link between problemsolving capabilities and product development performance. In this article, the authors apply a problem-solving perspective to the management of product development and suggest how shifting the identification and solving of problems—a concept that they define as front-loading—can reduce development time and cost and thus free up resources to be more innovative in the marketplace. The authors develop a framework of front-loading problem-solving and present related examples and case evidence from development practice. These examples include Boeing’s and Chrysler’s experience with the use of “digital mock-ups” to identify interference problems that are very costly to solve if identified further downstream—sometimes as late as during or—after first full-scale assembly. In the article, the authors propose that front-loading can be achieved using a number of different approaches, two of which are discussed in detail: (1) projectto-project knowledge transfer—leverage previous projects by transferring problem and solution-specific information to new projects; and (2) rapid problemsolving—leverage advanced technologies and methods to increase the overall rate at which development problems are identified and solved. Methods for improving project-to-project knowledge transfer include the effective use of “postmortems,” which are records of post-project learning and thus can be instrumental in carrying forward the knowledge from current and past projects. As the article suggests, rapid problem-solving can be achieved by optimally combining new technologies (such as computer simulation) that allow for faster problemsolving cycles with traditional technologies (such as late stage…...

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