Box 81 The New Zealand Dairy Board NZDB experience

1993 An audit of the NZDB by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) required for statutory reasons and covering all parts of the business. The major recommendations for R&D focused on the improvement of the product development process in achieving greater speed to market and greater success rates.

1994 Development of a phase-gate process for product development and implementation across all parts of the organisation.

1995 Consolidation of PD Processes with increased emphasis on 'doing things right'.

1996 Recognition that future gains in R&D effectiveness would most likely come from 'doing the right things' in addition to 'doing things right'.

1997 A small cross-functional benchmarking team was formed initiating a three-pronged approach:

• Decision practices. An internal survey of the performance and areas for improvement against key decision practices required for ' best practice' . The decision practice framework was defined by the Strategic Decision Group (SDG) in California (see Matheson & Matheson, 1998). Analysis of the survey data by SDG pointed to a number of specific areas for improving the decision practices that lead to 'doing the right things'.

• ProBE survey. Developed by Robert Cooper and Scott Edgett at the Product Development Institute Inc. (Ontario, Canada). An internal survey designed to evaluate product development performance against 11 critical success factors was used to identify areas of strength and weakness relative to industry average results and those of the top 20% of firms in the Product Development Institute database.

• Secondary data. A range of published materials including annual reports, management journals, the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) R&D database were used to provide background information on industry and individual company performance.

• A set of prioritised initiatives, centred around ' doing the right things' was recommended. These focused on linking R&D to business strategy including technology planning and portfolio management.

• Implementation of these initiatives was begun.

1998 A second BCG audit of the NZDB confirmed most of the recommendations of the internal benchmarking team and endorsed their implementation.

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