LEAN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: HYPE OR SUSTAINABLE NEW PARADIGM?
DS 68-1: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 1: Design Processes, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
The idea of lean product development (LPD), with Toyota used as the main case in point of demonstrating its abilities, has gained attention among managerial levels of companies dealing with product development. Allegedly the main gains of LPD are a high rate of successful projects in terms of cost and quality along with shorter lead times as well as fewer overruns in time and budget. This paper investigates the lean product development concept in comparison with established models in the current product development paradigm in order to map out the main differences. It also compares LPD to the way product development is carried out in practice on the example of two large European automotive companies. The results show that the main differences, among others, can be found first in the way knowledge is honored and managed, and second how and when decisions are made along the process. From the discussion of the results, conclusions are drawn for potential improvements to traditional product development models.