Complex global manufacturer: Improving the introduction of new products

The organisation is a global market leader producing a range of products that are sold directly to consumers through to other large industrial customers. The business has a good track record of delivering profitable growth, however, over the last 3-5 years there has been increasing competitive price pressure in the market. This had become so intense that it required the organisation to re-engineer its value chain to one that sources and assembles products from low-cost countries. Furthermore, the organisation had started to lag the market in technological leadership – it has set an objective to quickly reverse this trend and is now launching new products at an unprecedented rate.


The Challenge

The repeated failure of new product introductions has started to threaten the organisation’s reputation which, in turn, is putting their growth plans at risk. The senior leadership team decided to launch a transformation program that would:

  • Identify systemic weaknesses across the end-to-end value chain and identify the major root causes of new product introduction failures
  • Develop a single integrated plan to address the issues – utilising external best practice
  • Execute the transformation plan with short-term priority activity and longer-term preventative approaches, addressing the core issues whilst quickly building confidence

Approach

Oakland was commissioned to assess the current level of quality maturity across the entire organisation through:

  • In-depth interviews with the senior leadership team and key stakeholders to investigate the possible sources of failure
  • A “landscape” review of existing initiatives to ensure alignment across the organisation
  • Analysis of available quantitative and qualitative data to identify trends and quantitative evidence to confirm or challenge anecdotal evidence and identify other possible root causes
  • An end-to-end “walkthrough” of the core value chain with visits to manufacturing units, support functions and execution hubs, focusing on key interfaces, hand-offs, roles and responsibilities
  • Analysis of skills and experience across the business, by function, location and discipline

Impact

The extensive findings from this review were then used to:

  • Raise awareness and align perceptions as to the extent, criticality and urgency of the issues facing the organisation
  • Agree the vision, strategy and key goals for the transformation program
  • Create a single integrated plan for the ‘transformation journey’ that would deliver the vision and goals
  • Mobilize dedicated program and project teams with coaching support to deliver the short-term priorities and longer-term initiatives

Achievements

Although still in the initial stages of execution, the program has delivered some early success:

  • Three Quick-Win projects (first 100-days) were launched and have already delivered >$3MUSD validated savings, demonstrating early success and establishing momentum
  • Strategic initiatives have been launched to:
    • Develop a best-in class New Product Introduction process
    • Build robust processes and effective risk management across the business
    • Establish the right capability and commitment to quality along the value chain
  • Intensive, two-way, communications have been established that celebrate early successes, generating a wider awareness and commitment to quality improvement across the organisation
  • Active training and project coaching has led to increased engagement of the workforce at the local levels whilst maintaining a standardised and sustainable global approach

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