Certainty and Speed
With little room for delays due to management, technical or budget shortfalls, product development and transition to manufacturing have to be done right the first time and on time. In a rapidly growing market, with a product life cycle of three years, a six-month delay can reduce financial return on the product by a third. Due to the overarching importance of market penetration, doubling of the development budget or an increase in the cost of goods in this scenario will impact return by only a few percent. Conversely, in a stable market with long life cycles, increased cost of goods can compromise return on innovation (ROI) significantly.

The clash of development and manufacturing objectives, the ambitions and measures of success for each, puts return on innovation at risk: the growth and strengthening of financial and professional assets factor richly into every subsequent run at innovation, individually and as a team.

Roles and Goals
The goal of Research (R) is discovery; of Development (D) reduction to practice; and of Manufacturing (M) is stable, consistent and high quality replication at reduced cost. The interface of greatest potential conflict is where development (D) meets manufacturing (M). Development and manufacturing are specialized with their own skills, language and culture. All companies are structured to support development and manufacturing as distinct with unique success factors and measures.

• Acceleration and value imperative
• Rate of change is high, steadily convergent
• ECR/ECO’s being processed on the fly
• Assembly workflow partially, informally defined
• BOM in constant flux & varying structure
• Material supply and tracking variably out of phase
• Lowest volume, variable demand
• Adaptive process, distributed teams, methods, tools
• Quality: appropriate workmanship, fit and finish

• Cost & stability imperative
• Cost of change is high, fully converged
• ECO’s systematic in advance of ship dates
• Fully defined flow, provisioned in advance
• Defined and complete in every respect
• Fully developed, synchronized supply chain
• Higher volume demand, ability to forecast
• Fixed process, centralized control, uniform tools
• Quality: specified, measured verified, adhered to

Indeed D and M attract professionals of differing makeup. Clarity on roles within the Development and Manufacturing teams becomes critically important when integrating these key capabilities. Given a void in the team – an unfilled role – it is always better to respect that the role is not yet filled while seeking the right professional, rather than to ascribe responsibility to a professional from outside the domain. Why violate nature? The D-M transition is uncertain enough without challenges of on-the-job training, the inefficiencies, and added stress on all.

Accelerating Success
Everyone within D and M strives to be successful individually and as a team. Thus the D-M clash naturally rears its head. Return on innovation depends on transition planning in advance of kickoff of the Development, balancing as best understood the matters of speed, design maturity, and manufacturing cost.

It’s meant to be strengthening and rewarding. It builds muscle! Always remember to agree in advance that return on innovation includes both financial return and top quality professional experience for strategic innovation capability. And with each new program, individual and organizational capability is better prepared to maximize ROI!

Central ideas expressed in this article
Return on innovation (ROI): innovation nets financial, professional and organizational returns
Cultural impact on ROI: integrating cultures of Research, Development and Manufacturing increases ROI
Accelerated ROI: special advance planning and integration are key to accelerated development and ROI
Professional maturity: respect for and learning from colleagues in adjacent specialties add certainty to ROI
Innovation is naturally challenging: change is hard, yet improves capability, ROI and professional rewards.

Matt Haggerty

President, DCI Engineering