What is Lean Product Development (Part I)?

Lean product development might mean different things to different organizations, but let’s start with the 5 principles of lean manufacturing and see how it can be applied to the product development process.

Manufacturing Value Stream
1. Specify value
2. Identify the value stream
3. Establish flow
4. Make value flow at the  pull of the customer
5. Continuously eliminate waste

The 5 principles of lean product development might look something like this:

Product Development Value Stream
1. Specify product value
2. Identify the product development value stream
3. Establish flow of valuable products (designs), while minimizing manufacturing cost
4. Minimize time to market
5. Eliminate waste in the product development and manufacturing processes

What makes this complicated is the product development process impacts product value, as well as the manufacturing process.  Therefore, our goal statement for a lean product development value stream can be summarized as follows:

Develop products that maximize customer value and minimize product cost,  in the least amount of time, and at the least amount of product development cost.

Now that we’ve applied the lean principles to product development, the next article will provide some easy-to-follow objectives and identify tools and methodologies which will help us achieve this goal.