During my time while working at Toyota (TIEM) I had the opportunity to lead the operational side of new product development, side by side with our development engineers. This was perhaps one of those opportunities that I found to be highly rewarding. I guess the chance to first help lead the development of the Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) operations and then also help lead the development of new products, was an opportunity that I found very satisfying from a creative viewpoint. Thinking back to those early 1990’s years, I guess it simply comes down to exercising my imagination while working with others to bring life (reality) to new environments and things. Even today, some 30 years later, I would argue that the Columbus, IN facility, and products that were developed and are built there lead the Industrial Equipment (forklifts) market.
In the attached “checklist”, I have included several considerations in the form of questions that are “takeaways” from that experience gained at TIEM. If you lead an operation that needs to create new services or new products, this checklist will likely serve you well. The idea is to include those key considerations such as:
- Strategic Integration
- Product Planning
- Process Design
- Design Changes
The intent of the questions included in the checklist is to help you be sure that all design considerations are included as you develop a new service or product. As we began our new product development efforts, we thoroughly evaluated competitors’ products, including piece by piece teardown and doing comparison evaluation against our like (similar) products/components. As we conducted this evaluation, we also included shop floor associates to determine how they felt about the competitors’ component versus the current Toyota component. In many cases the associates would comment as to whether a competitive component was easier to make or if it was better and why. All these considerations were included in discussions between the new product design engineers and the associates.
After I left Toyota, I later had the opportunity to help lead an automotive client team through a very similar evaluation, with the intent to take cost out of the product without decreasing (and perhaps improve) the quality.
We have included this Strategic and New Product Development and Integration Checklist for your consideration, not necessarily as an only solution, but as an idea to help you structure your approach if appropriate for your situation.