World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant

Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant
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main ingredients of the world-class, lean performance formula

World-Class Industrial Culture (Lean Culture)     (more »)
World-Class approach to Market and Clients     (more »)
World-Class Products and Services
World-Class Operations (Lean Operations)     (more »)
Lean Value Chain     (more »)
Lean Human Resources Management     (more »)

world-class products and services

spaghetti for the monster client   linguine for the monster client   antipasto for the monster client   tortellini for the monster client   lasagne for the monster client   veal scaloppine for the monster client   full buffet for the monster client

Monsters like variety and undivided, personal attention: like to say, variety of food and personalised food.
Today, monsters may be happy with some spaghetti, but tomorrow they want tortellini. And the day after a full Italian antipasto, and lasagne, and veal pizzaiola. And.... isn't it ?

The new-world SME must approach the market with products and, most important, service capable of fulfilling market's wants and expectations in a competitive mode.

Competitive advantage in the new-world is obtained through a world-class approach to the development of new products/services - to the modification/adaptation of existing ones - to the personalisation required by the monster clients.
This requires an enterprise in the Enterprise, the new products/services enterprise. A factory in the Factory, the new products development factory. A service establishment in the Service Establishment, the new services development unit.

In most cases, the traditional R&D department is no longer adequate.

Besides, the world is changing rapidly. New products and services must be developed as rapidly. Products' lifecycle becomes shorter and shorter. In a situation of proliferation of similar/identical products all launched almost at the same time, being first on the market carries a distinct advantage.

Moreover, monsters are less and less likely to tolerate poor shows or failures.
Products/Services must be right, from day 1. Capable of assuring immediately monsters' satisfaction and acceptance. Finito.
Repairs/intervention under guarantee and after-sale service are fast becoming an obsolete concept. Errors, mistakes, unreliability are no longer acceptable to monsters, who are less and less prepared to subsidise poor-performing enterprises.
The new-world rules are tough. There is no space for amateurs....

The world-class enterprise should adhere to a couple of rules and set a couple of corresponding targets, in order to face the tough challenge:

  • New products/services (or modified/adapted ones) must be right from day 1.
    This means "valuable" to clients and fully acceptable to them, immediately.
  • Be first on the market - ideally, well ahead of competition.
    This means sur-peting rather than competing. (more »)

The above implies a global approach and a well defined strategy in respect of new products/services development. Most probably, not confined only to the traditional R&D people.

New products development starts at clients' premises and ends at clients premises. Only a closed loop of this kind can guarantee some success.

The state-of-the-art disciplines available for the purpose to all enterprises, including SMEs, include (but are not limited to) the following ones:

  • QFD - Quality Function Deployment. Or, "...listen to the voice of the clients and convert their declared, expressed, implied, expected and even un-expected wants, needs, demands and wishes into quality features/characteristics of the new product/service - already at drawing board stage - so that the new product/service will be acceptable and valuable from day one....." (more »)
  • VE - Value Engineering. Or, " organised way of thinking to examine all the cost components of a product (or service, or system) in order to determine whether any cost item can be reduced or eliminated without detracting its functional, quality or aesthetic elements......". (more »)
    VA - Value Analysis does the same as Value Engineering, but for existing products/services.
    Through Value Analysis and Value Engineering, the Value Management philosophy throws its shining light also on the product/service development domain.
  • FMEA - Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Or, " analytical technique addressed to identify - already at design stage - critical areas or potential sources of failure in products or services (or processes), including the possible failures that might be incurred during the Design, the Development, and the Production of a Product (or the Processing of a Service) or its components and sub-components (or its processes and sub-processes) - and also addressed to evaluate the potential effects of such failure/s, ranking them in order of relevance - and providing a system for defining what actions (modifications, tests and controls, etc.) could and should be undertaken in order to eliminate or reduce the probability of such failure/s taking place....".
    There is a Product FMEA, a Process FMEA and a Service FMEA. (more »)
  • FTA - Fault Tree Analysis. Or, ".....a thinking process apt to identify all sort of possible actions and interventions addressed to reduce (if and when required) the risk associated with an undesired outcome. This is achieved by analysing what events have to conspire together to bring about the undesired outcome. ...".
    The FTA tool is extremely useful to assess and counteract, already at Design stage, possible risks associated with the use of a Product - or the production of a Product - or the Processing of a Service - or the implementation of a Project - etc.
    The FTA tool can be conveniently used in conjunction with other Risk Management tools like the Event Tree Analysis, the Cause-Consequence Modelling & Analysis, the Markov Chain Analysis, and others.
  • DOE - Design Of Experiments. Or, " to target at zero defects and beyond (toward zero variation) already at Product Design stage, by identifying and separating important quality variables from unimportant ones and optimising and freezing levels and tolerances on important quality variables of a product....".
  • Concurrent (Simultaneous) Engineering. Or, " to avoid the 'over-the-wall' approach to product/service development (long, costly and ineffective) by switching over to 'parallel', interfunctional-team development of products/services."
    In fact, the deployment of the above disciplines (and others) does not guarantee alone a fast, economical and effective product/service development process. To the contrary, it might even penalise a "traditional" approach, because of the introduction of a stronger cost and time impact.
    Only a well co-ordinated, "concurrent" team work maximises effectiveness (product/service right from day 1) while minimising development costs and time. (more »)
  • Project Management. In a concurrent, team-based, product development situation, solid and healthy Lean Project Management is imperative.
    Practically unknown in the Manufacturing and Service Enterprise (especially in SMEs), Project Management rules and principles, and most important, the Lean Project Management approach, assure success, efficiency and effectiveness in the development process of new products or services. (more »)

Once again, the fundamental Lean principle of identifying correctly the real Value to clients must be respected.

Which must always be associated with actual generation of the identified Value.

The final target for the world-class, lean SME: Total Product and/or Total Service.

Or, "...give the monster a bit more than what he wants or expects if you want to assure his full satisfaction.....".

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