Case Study: New Product Introduction

The Client

A large, high end furniture manufacturer

The Case

Two one-week-long markets each year, combined with the promotional calendars of major chain retailer customers immediately following each market, choked the product development process. A 25% increase in new models to be shipped within six weeks following the markets bogged down through-put during the busiest production periods. In spite of extraordinary preparation and quality management, production was hampered while designs were "productized" and manufacturing "bugs" resolved. Going forward, these product development issues threatened to stall an aggressive growth strategy targeting four new market segments and 60% growth over a three-to-five-year time period.

The WWA Solution

In a four-day quick strike, WWA Associates were challenged to streamline the product development process and its impact on the production floor. Among other things, findings included:

  • The formation of a collaborative Design Center to shorten product development time and "productizing" by 25% while preserving design integrity onto the production floor.
  • Several process enhancements to engage all production workers in quickly proofing first production runs of new models.
  • A PDM implementation to support parts standardization and other process enhancements.
  • An academic research partnership to quickly test and confirm product enhancements to simplify manufacturing while supporting the making of subcomponents in a Just-In-Time environment.