Lean product life cycle

Comments: This is a very exciting area for improvements in manufacturing generally. Some Rapid Prototyping software and devices are maturing to the point where it is starting to become possible in the near future that we will be telling computers to “make a basketball” or “make a fuel injection system.” Pardon the reference to Star Trek, but some of the equipment we have seen begins to resemble the “Replicator” technology that sits on most countertops (much like a microwave), in the crew quarters on the Starship Enterprise.

Caveat:   Blitzes are all too often un-targeted, .  done with little concern as to the overall impact on the total company.   The results of such un-focused blitzes typically have a significant local impact, microcosms of excellence , but little or no impact on overall company well being.   See “Solutions Looking for a Problem” below.

  • Blow-Through BOM’s (Bills of Material):   Many “assembled product” manufacturers need to maintain subassembly identity, and/or control configuration, for replacement parts.   In these circumstances, rather than have a flat bill of material, it is much more practical to continue to show all subassembly levels on the bill of material. A “Blow Through” level, allows the subassembly’s parts to be called out, for kitting or backflush purposes, on the next higher level assembly.   The MRP algorithm “blows through” .  treats the subassembly’s parts as if they were called out on the next higher-level assembly.
  • Boom-Bust Cycle:   Some Causes:   I just got off the phone with a steel finishing plant / distributor.   He said that their on-time delivery performance was terrible, and that their lead times had extended considerably.   When I mentioned some ways to fix this issue, his response was classic:   “The customers have learned to expect it”   “We can’t turn down orders.   We just promise what they want to hear, then beg forgiveness.” And what do the customers do in these situations?   You’ve go it!   They double order.   They order high “just in case”.   They ask for it early, knowing full well that it will be late.

    This is a good question. First, one lifecycle clearly does not fit all. Teams find themselves in a unique situation: team members are unique individuals with their own skills and preferences for working, let alone the scaling/tailoring factors such as team size, geographic distribution, domain complexity, organizational culture, and so on which vary by team. Because teams find themselves in a wide variety of situations shouldn’t a framework such as DA support several lifecycles? Furthermore, just from the raging debates on various agile discussion forums, in agile user groups, at agile conferences, and even within organizations themselves it’s very easy to empirically observe that agile teams are in fact following different types of lifecycles.

    Declines are almost inevitable in an industry. If product innovation has not kept pace with other competing products and/or service, or if new innovations or technological changes have caused the industry to become obsolete, sales suffer and the life cycle experiences a decline. In this phase, sales are decreasing at an accelerating rate. This is often accompanied by another, larger shake-out in the industry as competitors who did not leave during the maturity stage now exit the industry. Yet some firms will remain to compete in the smaller market. Mergers and consolidations will also be the norm as firms try other strategies to continue to be competitive or grow through acquisition and/or diversification.

    Lean product life cycle

    lean product life cycle

    Declines are almost inevitable in an industry. If product innovation has not kept pace with other competing products and/or service, or if new innovations or technological changes have caused the industry to become obsolete, sales suffer and the life cycle experiences a decline. In this phase, sales are decreasing at an accelerating rate. This is often accompanied by another, larger shake-out in the industry as competitors who did not leave during the maturity stage now exit the industry. Yet some firms will remain to compete in the smaller market. Mergers and consolidations will also be the norm as firms try other strategies to continue to be competitive or grow through acquisition and/or diversification.

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