Striving for continuous improvement

It is no longer enough to have a creative group of product developers. Success comes from having a fully integrated NPD function, supported by first rate practices and processes, and focused on the business goals of the company. This is illustrated in Fig. 8.5. For the total company product development function, the business strategy is connected to the product development programme which is interrelated to the individual product development projects. Benchmarking can signify changes to the business strategy and this is then transferred to the product development programme and to the individual product development projects. Or the benchmarking study may have been on individual projects and the results are recognised in the business strategy, or in the product development programme which is transferred to the product development projects. Continuous improvement based on benchmarking is an interactive process. It is directly connected with the basic parts of the PD Process with the specific standards for decisions, outcomes, activities and techniques being set by different levels of management, but interconnected. There must be focus on the effects on the market and also on teamworking and general company cooperation in product development.

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