The Management Roundtable

Keynote Presentations


Tuesday, October 14
Lean Concepts for Rapid Learning, Knowledge Capture and Effective People Engagement

James Luckman
Lean Transformations Group, LLC

Over the past few decades, many companies have applied lean tools and principles in their operations. Most of the focus has been on manufacturing but recently, there has been a movement to the offices and also to product development. Many of these lean efforts produced spotty results because the implementation approach was limited by introducing lean tools to the existing systems and culture of the organization. It is clear that making the transformation to a “Toyota-like thinking” company requires a very different approach.

Product development is about creating and capturing knowledge for reuse. The core principles of lean involve engaging the entire organization in solving problems around the products and the processes so that the company can maintain and continuously grow its knowledge. An effective transformation approach in product development requires key middle managers and engineers to participate in rapid problem solving around their core development processes. When lean concepts for rapid learning, knowledge capture and effective people engagement are applied, a new approach and focus for the entire company can be achieved. Over time and through consistency of this approach, many of the existing beliefs, mental models, systems and behaviors change in favor of the new knowledge-based paradigm.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding of what has caused us to operate in our existing paradigm and what is wrong with it

  • Learn what the new paradigm is and why it performs at a higher level

  • Understand why product development is an ideal place to begin the process of operating the new paradigm

  • Be informed of an approach that has demonstrated the ability to create this shift in thinking

Jim Luckman is a partner of Lean Transformation Group, a company with experienced practitioners of Lean and corporate coaches, focused on helping companies manage a transformation to Lean. Recently, Jim was the President and CEO of iPower Technologies, a company serving the distributed generation market of electrical power. In this position, he successfully applied lean across all functions in the organization providing a common change model. Jim has worked in the auto industry for 34 years employed at Delphi Automotive (formerly part of General Motors). He has had significant experience in Strategic Planning, Engineering and Manufacturing. In his most recent position at Delphi, he was Site Manager at the Technical Center of Rochester, NY, and Chief Engineer for Fuel Systems. He led a transformation at the Technical Center by adopting lean manufacturing principles and applying Toyota product development principles. He took a systems approach to making change and integrated this across all functions that support the development process. As the executive champion and change agent for Lean Engineering, he spent most of his time coaching and leading workshops for all Delphi Engineering organizations and other interested companies. Jim has an Electrical Engineering Bachelor's degree from Tri State University and a Masters degree from Case Western Reserve University in Computer Engineering.


Wednesday, October 15
Second Generation Lean Product Development

Don Reinertsen
Reinertsen & Associates
and Author, Managing the Design Factory

Many early attempts to apply the principles of Lean Manufacturing in product development have already fallen short. Organizations often lose precious time doing value stream maps, waste walks, and lean simulations in return for modest improvements. Meanwhile, companies using more focused approaches are getting 5 to 10x improvements in key development activities. Lean looks very different in product development, and these differences are the key to capturing its benefits. In this presentation, Don Reinertsen will discuss how practical methods like batch size reduction, queue management, and cadence can make a difference. Such methods are key to achieving large simultaneous improvements in speed, quality, and development cost.

  • Where did early attempts to use Lean in product development go awry?

  • Why are queues the underlying key to quality, efficiency, and speed?

  • How can we reduce the cost of variability without stifling innovation?

  • Which lean methods make a difference, and how do they work?

Don Reinertsen is also the acclaimed instructor
of MRTs most popular workshop:

Techniques, Economics and Implementation
Next Session: March 3-4, 2009 in San Diego

Don Reinertsen is President of Reinertsen & Associates, specializing in the management of the product development process. Before forming his own firm, he consulted at McKinsey & Co., an international management consulting firm, and was Senior Vice President of operations at Zimmerman Holdings, a private diversified manufacturing company. His contributions in the field of product development have been recognized internationally. He is particularly noted for bringing fresh perspectives and quantitative rigor to development process management.

In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he wrote a landmark article in Electronic Business magazine that first quantified the value of development speed. This article has been cited in the frequently quoted McKinsey study that indicated “6 months delay can be worth 33 percent of lifecycle profits.” He coined the term “Fuzzy Front End” in 1983 and began applying world class manufacturing techniques in product development in 1985. His book, Managing the Design Factory, is recognized as a powerful and thoughtful application of manufacturing thinking to product development. Don is also co-author of, Developing Products in Half the Time. Mr. Reinertsen holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School.


Wednesday, October 15
A Systems Approach to High Performance Product Development in the Auto Industry

Abe Vadhavkar
GPDS Platform Manager

Ford Motor Company

Today’s vehicles are arguably the most complex, technologically advanced consumer products on the planet. They are comprised of hundreds of thousands of individual parts and thousands of interdependent, yet technologically diverse subsystems that must work together seamlessly in order to protect, transport, and entertain us. The creation of these vehicles depends upon the development of enormous, state of the art, high precision manufacturing systems as well as the orchestration of an intricate network of thousands of suppliers. Consequently, a successful automotive product development system requires the synchronized efforts of an army of multi-disciplined engineers, scientists, technicians and an array of business professionals located across the globe.

Further, all this must be accomplished within a hyper-competitive environment in which vehicle development times have shortened radically, investment and variable costs have been continually squeezed, quality expectations have risen dramatically, and vehicle market segments have become much smaller, and far more diverse. It is an intense business, where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake in a single development project.

Competing in this business requires serious commitment and a comprehensive, systems approach to product development that includes talented, highly skilled people, effective processes, and fully integrated state of the art technologies. High performance product development in the auto industry depends upon a framework of guiding principles that leverage these three crucial system elements. And the best companies understand these principles, and how people, processes and technologies can work together to create a profound competitive advantage in product development performance.

Conference Info:

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