Category Archives: New Product and Service Development and Process Selection

Nuts to Screws

Nuts to Screws

One u.s. champion of DFM is Geoffrey Brotherhood, a professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at the University of Rhode Island and the co-founder of Brotherhood Hurst Inc. This tiny Wake-field (R.I.) company has developed several computer programs that analyze designs for ease of manufacturing. The biggest gains, notes Brotherhood, come from eliminating screws and other fasteners. On a supplier’s invoice, screws and bolts may run mere pennies apiece, and collectively they account for only about 5 percent of a typical product’s bill of materials. But tack on all of the associated costs, such as the time needed to align components while screws are inserted and tightened, and the price of using those mundane parts can pile up to 75 percent of total assembly costs. “Fasteners should be the first thing to design out of a product he says.but late But NCR got its simplified terminal to market in record time without overlooking the little details. The product was formally introduced last January, just 24 months after development began. Design  as a paperless. interdepartmental effort from the very start. The product remained a computer model until all members of the team-from design engineering. manufacturing. purchasing, customer service, and key suppliers-were satisfied. That way  the printed-circuit boards. the molds for its plastic housing, and other elements could all be developed simultaneously  This eliminated the usual lag after designers throw a new product or the wall  to manufacturing  which then must figure out how to
make it Breaking Dow n the walls between design and manufacturing to facilitate stimulusneous engineering  Prague declares was the real breakthrough.

The Best Engineered Part Is No Part

The Best Engineered Part Is No Part

Putting together CR Corp.’s new 2760 electronic cash register is a snap. In fact, William  . Prague can do it in less than two minutes-blindfolded. To get that kind of easy assembly Prague a senior manufacturing engineer at NCR, insisted that the point-of-sale terminal be designed so that its parts fit together with no screws or bolts. The entire terminal consists of just 15;vendor-produced components. That’s 85 percent fewer parts  from 65 percent fewer suppliers  than in the company’s previous low-end model  the 2160. And the terminal takes only 25 percent as much time to assemble.assemble. Instillation
and maintenance are also a breeze  says Prague. The simplicity flows through to all of the downstream activities  including field service  The new NCR product is one of the best examples to date of the payoffs possible from a new engineering approach called “design for maneuverability  mercifully shortened to DFM. Other DFM enthusiasts include Ford  General Motors  IBM  Motorola  Perkins-Elmer  and Whirlpool, Since 1981  General Electric Co. has used DFM in more than 100 development program from major appliances to gearboxes for jet engines. figures that the concept has netted $200 million in benefits  either from cost savings or from increased market  shares.

The Personal Attention Approach

The Personal Attention Approach

The personal attention approach is basically the concept of mass customization applied to services. With this approach each customer is treated as an individual with the service firm often maintaining a database of each customer's likes and dislikes. This data can be collected manually in personal books  as noted below at Angstrom's  or more formally by electronic means. as the Ritz-Carlton does with all of its guests. In the latter case this information is then available throughout the entire organization. The following example by Tom Peters describes how Angstrom's ope rationalizes its personal attention philosophy.This. incident involved the $1.3 billion  Seattle-based Strongroom a specialty clothing retailer. Its sales per square foot are about five times that of a typical department store. Who received the customer's letter and urged the extreme (by others' standards) response? Co-chairman John restroom. The front line providers of this good service are well paid. Angstrom's salespersons earn a couple of bucks an hour more than competitors plus a 6.75 percent commission. Its top salesperson moves over $1 million a year in merchandise. restroom lives for its customers and salespeople. Its only official
organization 'chart puts the customer at the top followed by sales and sales support people. Next come department managers then store managers. and the board of directors at the very bottom. Salespersons religiously carry a  personal book  where they record luminous. information about each of their customers; senior. successful salespeople often have three or four bulging books which they carry everywhere according to Betsy Sanders the vice president who orchestrated the firm's wildly successful penetration of the tough southern California market. "My objective is to get one new personal customer a day;' says a budding Strongroom star. The system helps him do just that He has a virtually unlimited budget to send cards flowers and thank-you notes to customers. He also is encouraged to shepherd his customer to any department in the store to assist in a successful shopping trip No bureaucracy gets in the way of serving the customer  Policy Sanders explains to a dumbfounded
group of Silicon Valley executives  know this drives the lawyers nuts  but our whole 'policy manual  is just one sentence, 'Use your own best judgment at all time   One store manager offers a translation. "Don't chew gum. Don't steal from us No matter what approach is taken, seven common characteristics of well-designed service systems have been identified:

The Customer Involvement Approach

The Customer Involvement Approach

In contrast to the production line approach C. H. Love lock and R. F. Young propose that the service process can be enhanced by having the customer take a greater participatory role in the production of the service+ Automatic teller machines (ATMs), self-service gas stations salad bars and in-room coffee-making equipment in hotels are good examples of where the burden of providing service is shifted to the consumer Obviously  this philosophy requires some selling on the part of the service organization to convince customers that this is beneficial to them To this end Love lock and Young propose a number of steps including developing customer trust promoting the benefits of cost speed  and convenience and following up to make sure that the procedures’ are being effectively used. In essence this turns customers into  partial employees  who must be trained in what to do and be compensated primarily through lower prices that are charged for the service.

The Production Line Approach

The Production Line Approach

The production line approach pioneered by McDonald’s refers to more than just the steps required to assemble a Big Mac. Rather as Theodore Levitt notes  it is treating the delivery of fast food as a manufacturing process rather than a service process  The value of this philosophy is that it overcomes many of the problems inherent in the concept of service itself. That is  service implies subordination or subjugation of the server to the served; manufacturing  on the other hand  avoids this connotation because it focuses on things rather than people. Thus  in manufacturing and at McDonald the orientation is
toward the efficient production of results. not on the attendance on others.” Levitt notes that besides McDonald’s marketing and financial skills. the company carefully controls the execution of each outlet’s central function-the rapid delivery of a con tenthly uniform high-quality mix of prepared foods in an environment of obvious cleanliness  order. and cheerful courtesy The systematic substitution of equipment for people. combined with the carefully planned use and positioning of technology enables McDonald’s to attract and hold patronage in proportions no predecessor or imitator has managed to duplicate Levitt cites several aspects of McDonald’s operations to illustrate the concepts.

  • The McDonald’s french fryer allows cooking of the optimum number of french fries at one time.
  • A wide-mouthed scoop is used to pick up the precise amount of french fries for each order size. (The employee never touches the product.)
  • Storage space is expressly designed for a predetermined mix of prepackaged and remeasured products.
  • Cleanliness is pursued by providing ample trash cans in and outside each facility (and the larger outlets have motorized sweepers for the parking area).
  • Hamburgers are wrapped in color-coded paper.
  • Through painstaking attention to total design and facilities planning everything  is built integrally into the (McDonald’s) machine itself-into the technology of the system. The only choice available to the attendant is to operate it exactly as the designers intended.