Expertise: Innovation, Simplification, WorkOut
Schaffer Team: Ron Ashkenas, Celia Kirwan
People were not following company guidelines because they were too complex. Schaffer Consulting used the WorkOut methodology to bring together all players to develop and implement a new end-to-end process they all agreed upon.
A large food manufacturer engaged in a multi-year strategy to reduce business complexity had identified two critical issues with its new product development process: it was overly complex and many of the operating units didn’t follow it. The company asked Schaffer to help the operating units agree on a simple, robust, and collaborative process for introducing new products that they would all follow.
Our consultants worked with senior leaders from R&D, the operating units, and finance to define success criteria for simplifying the new product development process and identified 10 design criteria. We designed and facilitated a WorkOut to bring end-to-end process participants together in three sub-process teams – new product initiation, new product feasibility, and commercialization – to define and implement simplified processes and present their ideas to senior leaders for approval. The teams pressure tested the changes with a set of early stage ideas in high priority product platforms. Schaffer assisted with the communication, education and training of those involved in implementing the simplified process as well as driving implementation discipline across the operating units and other functions.
A simpler process was implemented across the organization in 90 days. It included defined stages and gates, meaningful gate deliverables, and metrics to drive decisions, ownership, and the approval process. Working together to build the new process developed stronger cross-functional linkages and visibility. The WorkOut process helped teams deliver faster, more effective screening of new ideas as well as the ability to ‘learn early and fail cheap’.
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