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Case Study Presentations

SRAM | Badger Meter | Kennametal | Corbis
Abbott |Steelcase | Critical Point Group | Boeing


Tim Smith
Vice President, Engineering and Design

SRAM Corporation

Key Steps for Implementing Lean Methods in Global NPD Teams

SRAM, a leading provider of high quality bicycle components, like many companies, relies on the structure of global product development and manufacturing teams to develop its products. Over the past year, SRAM has been applying lean principles, specifically cost of delay analysis and queue management, within its product development organization to improve the speed, efficiency and costs of its development process.

In this presentation, Mr. Smith will discuss:

  • The unique challenges of applying lean concepts within its distributed development teams

  • The steps taken to create a cost of delay process – how to encourage adoption of the process as well as manage ongoing maintenance

  • The types of decisions that can be made with cost of delay tools and the resultant impact on speed, cost and productivity

  • How SRAM tracks, measures and manages queues within its functions that provide critical support to the development process (testing, measurement and prototyping) – review of case examples of specific queue measurement techniques

  • Challenges met in their attempts to apply queue measurement techniques to core engineering and development tasks


  Eric Grismer
Lean Program Manager

Badger Meter, Inc.

Fixing an Overloaded Development Process

The problem of fixing an overloaded development process requires more than good analysis. It requires building an organizational consensus and selling it to many stakeholders with very different motivations. Badger Meter has a complex mix of metering products combining mechanical, electronic, and communications technology. In this presentation Don Faber will describe how they were able to systematically reduce overloads and the lessons learned along the way. Specifically, Eric will address the following key issues:

  • “WIP” – Why less is more

  • How to build organizational support for this critical change

  • How meaningful design reuse works to improve flow

  • The critical role of project financial models
    Planning and ROI

  • “Appropriate” Measurement


Bernard North
VP Global Research, Development and Engineering Metalworking Solutions
and Services Group

Kennametal, Inc.

Using WIP Controls in R&D

Many companies struggle to apply lean methods in the high variability world of industrial research. Over the last 6 years, Kennametal, a $2 Billion+ leader in providing tooling solutions, has increased sales from new products from 20 percent to 40 percent of revenue, while simultaneously improving key financial metrics. A significant factor in improving performance was the WIP controls that lead to a dramatic reduction in lead-time. In this talk Bernard North, Kennametal's VP of Global Research, Development and Engineering, will discuss the multifaceted approach that made this

  • How they defined measurable units of work
  • How they measure and control WIP
  • How they set priorities within work queues
  • What they learned in the process


David Anderson
Senior Director, Software Engineering

  Rick Garber
Manager, Process Engineering


A Kanban System for Sustaining Engineering on Software Systems

The Governance Board at Corbis funded 10% of engineering resources to focus on maintenance and upgrades through regular sustaining engineering releases of software systems. The Technology Department promised it could deliver a release every 2 weeks. Initially, a traditional project management approach to define scope and schedule with a release date was adopted. The results were terrible – the process of gaining agreement on scope, cost estimates and release dates with management alone often took over 2 weeks and the process drained resources from other major projects.

The response was to adopt a kanban system to limit and control work-in-process, coupled with a regular release schedule and a regular prioritization meeting with business owners to introduce work to the system. This kanban implementation utilized a floating pool of resources, delivered a release every two weeks, against a service level agreement of 28 days lead time, and demonstrated 10% resource utilization. The process clearly demonstrated that software development can exhibit all the same phenomena as Lean Kanban Theory suggests. For example, greater variation causes a need for increased queue sizes, larger work-in-process and longer lead times, while expediting also causes longer lead times, lower efficiency in resource utilization, greater work-in-process and ragged flow.

This presentation will detail the process as adopted and will use real data to explain the astonishing results. The presenters will show how the process was adapted over time to improve throughput, reduce lead times, decrease variability, and limit work-in-process.


Anthony Orzechowski
Director of R&D Quality Engineering

Abbott Diagnostics

Building and Deploying a Lean Product Development Initiative

Mr. Orzechowski will discuss the strategic and tactical aspects associated with the deployment of Lean Product Development practices in the R&D environment at Abbott Diagnostics. Specifically, he will address:

  • Methods used to align the deployment of the lean practices and activities with organizational strategy and objectives

  • Key steps for introducing lean approaches into the organization, managing lean practices through portfolio planning and integrating them with on-going R&D operations

  • Methods used to successfully grow organizational capacity to drive lean practices


Tim Schipper
Office Lean Consultant

Steelcase, Inc.

Lean Methods for Creative Development

Steelcase has been applying lean principles to its manufacturing facilities since 1996. After achieving repeated success in lean manufacturing, Steelcase extended its lean practices to office processes and made additional gains in efficiency and reduction in total cycle time; however, the wastes uncovered were often caused further upstream in the product development process. Thus, the natural progression of applying lean principles to the development process; lean was used in both the IT application development and product development areas.

Steelcase’s lean approach for development involves using quick, iterative learning cycles in which the whole team works to complete the objectives of each cycle. Each learning cycle contains the elements of building and testing. The approach generates improved quality and speed through the use of visual controls and frequent management integration points. Several key lean concepts are used in this technique:

  • Separate development from execution

  • Split the development into quick iterative learning cycles

  • Scope out each learning cycle with clear objectives

  • Create flow in development by applying lean value stream-mapping and kaizens to supporting processes

  • Generate and carry forward multiple concepts, optimizing product value and reducing design wastes

By using these techniques, Steelcase’s development time in IT and product development efforts has been reduced by over 50% on several key projects and costs have also been dramatically reduced. Mr. Schipper will share highlights of the lean Steelcase journey and lessons learned along the way.


Guy Beaver
Director of Software Engineering

Critical Point Group

Key Strategies for Successfully Adopting Lean/Agile Practices in a Process-centric Corporate Culture

This session will outline successful strategies for piloting and rolling out Lean/Agile software development to a process-centric IT organization. A focus on a metrics approach to satisfy Six Sigma governance and strategies for measuring business value will be discussed in detail.

Process-centric waterfall organizations typically present specific challenges to Lean/Agile pilot projects. This session will provide lessons learned from a successful Agile rollout within an IT organization structured by process area (e.g. Systems Analysts, Systems Testers, UI Designers, Enterprise Data Modelers, etc).

Topics covered will include:

  • Why Six Sigma and DMAIC create special Lean/Agile challenges

  • Critical-to-success for Lean/Agile pilot projects

  • Managing perceptions

  • Expecting (and dealing with) frustration

  • Key metrics: Productivity & Discipline

  • The Perfect Daily Status Report

  • Transform process-driven discipline to test-driven productivity


Perry Rea

Boeing Commercial Airplane
New Airplane Product Development

Boeing's Journey to Lean Product Development

Over the past ten years, a series of significant events have forced Boeing Commercial Airplanes to reinvent the way it develops and produces airplanes. The application of Lean principles has been a major focus of these efforts and is being accomplished on an unparalleled scale. These efforts are now showing dramatic payoffs as evidenced by the company's recent success across its product line. This presentation will trace how these improvements, initially focused on production and detail design have been achieved and have built upon each other through applications on the 737NG, the 777 the 787, the 747-8 and are now being applied to early product development.

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