Improving the productivity of an R&D organization
Author(s)Hurtado Schwarck, Armando Miguel
Improving the productivity of an research and development organization
System Design and Management Program.
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This research demonstrates through a comprehensive case study, the application of Lean manufacturing techniques, specifically Value Stream Mapping, to a product development organization in the mass consumer products industry. With the guidance of a methodology for Value Stream Mapping adapted to Product Development by Dr. High McManus (McManus, 2005), I map specific processes related to the approval of tests and spending R&D funds. This mapping allows the identification of wastes and improvement in cycle time and in productivity of the process under study. In order to achieve the results above, a precise definition of value and productivity was needed. I derived this from the combination of R&D productivity concepts extracted from the literature that were useful in this application (Tipping, Zeffren, & Fusfeld, 1995), (Steven, Mytelka, & all, 2010), (Meyer, Tertzakian, & Utterback, 1997). Value Stream Mapping also requires the process under study to be precisely bound. In order to narrow the scope of study form the overall product development process to something more manageable, a combination of qualitative interviews with employees and quantitative data from seven past projects was analyzed. This analysis yielded that a significant amount of time was spent by the organization on approval processes. Additionally, procurement processes were highlighted as needing potential improvements. An important conclusion of the work is that approval processes, which are meant to manage and maximize the returns on variable R&D spending, might be counterproductive if we consider their impact on cycle time and the utilization of fixed R&D assets.
Thesis: S.M. in Engineering and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, System Design and Management Program, June 2013."May 2013." Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 85-86).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; System Design and Management Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division., System Design and Management Program.