The big question for many organisations starting on NPI improvement journey is: What should they do first? A good starting point is to complete an internal analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. This approach can be both more cost effective and can help to prioritise improvement activities. To facilitate this internal analysis, a robust self-assessment tool can provide people with a method to step back, reflect on current processes and make objective decisions on where the improvements need to focus. The company can then decide how best to approach improvements to processes and to build the capability to use them effectively.
Earlier this year Industry Forum launched a free NPI self-assessment tool to help organisations start their NPI improvement journey. Since the launch of the NPI self-assessment tool we have received responses from organisations across multiple manufacturing sectors (including automotive, aerospace, health, food and process). Respondents to the NPI self-assessment have covered most organisational functions including project management, quality, design engineering, manufacturing engineering, supply chain, senior management and manufacturing. This has highlighted that concern with NPI success is business wide.
In this article we will share some of the analysis results across the self-assessments completed and talk about common weak areas identified for improvement. Before we get to analysis results here is your chance to complete the free NPI self-assessment if you have not already done so.
The NPI Process Pillar is by far the biggest area of concern highlighted in NPI self-assessment responses. 59% of responses (see Fig. 1) within this pillar showed it as an area of concern for the respondents. It is also one of the key process pillars in the Industry Forum NPI model for Launch Excellence (see Fig. 2).
Successful NPI processes are aligned to business needs and agreed with all stakeholders. Lack of stakeholder commitment is often seen either due to a cumbersome NPI process or the process not being rigorous enough to produce the desired NPI results (enough to pass an audit but not to deliver success). This is also an area where best practices start must be adapted to best fit the context of individual organisations. It all comes down to having a ‘right-sized’ NPI process that meets the business needs. So how do we get to this right sized NPI process?
The right sized NPI process definition should:
- Be adaptable to both simple and complex situations (not forcing simple product launches to follow over-complex processes designed for the worst case).
- Have a clear definition and buy in from a cross-functional team to agree the expected activities, deliverables and clear decision making for NPI (including customer requirements such as APQP).
- Have buy in from a cross-functional team on the standard work output for each activity within NPI process.
- Have measures for process adherence and NPI outputs agreed and implemented within teams.
How long does it take to define a robust NPI process? Industry Forum normally facilitates this through a four days NPI Process Pillar workshop as a closed course at your site. This workshop includes reviewing the existing NPI process, defining a suitable future state with cross functional team and defining measures for sustained implementation of the new NPI process. The team should then trial the process (either in sections or as a whole) to ensure it delivers the objectives before it is rolled out across the organisation. For more information on the improvement facilitation support please contact firstname.lastname@example.org