Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Improve Product Development Using IPD

by Jim Dickerson

As with many processes at IBM, product development can be summarized with the three-letter abbreviation IPD—Integrated Product Design.

Simply put, IPD is a systematic process for product development based on fact based decision making involving all relevant job disciplines including sales, marketing and the supply chain, which includes manufacturing, logistics, procurement and fulfillment.

For companies using a discipline business process like IPD, the goal is to bring a solution to market that satisfies client needs and makes bottom-line results more predictable and profitable.

The IPD process ensures all factors in developing a proposed solution are considered throughout the checkpoint process and the solution’s entire life cycle before it ever goes to market.
Working in a Vacuum

Before IPD became widely accepted and implemented, engineers, just like many other people in manufacturing organizations, worked in silos—de-veloping products and lobbing them over the wall to sales and marketing.

This scenario describes IBM’s problem in the early 1990s. IBM funded products that didn’t meet the needs of the marketplace or never made it outside the laboratory. Creative ideas and innovations typical of IBM’s 3,000 patents annually needed predictable business processes that were consistent and reliable to transform them into marketplace product successes.

Lack of consistency and commonality across 30 internal individual supply chains also hampered product cost and quality at IBM. This impacted product design significantly because IBM was unable to leverage cost and quality benefits of a common building block process aligned to a standard set of preferred suppliers.
Measuring Success And Best Practices

By 1998, IBM had fully implemented IPD across its entire organization. The impetus for IPD was a new CEO. At the time, IBM was slow to market with several technologies and had lost focus. Negative corporate business results and sagging stock prices weren’t helping, either.

Something had to give: IBM’s brand needed to be transformed and reignited. To stop the bleeding, IBM hired a new CEO who wanted to see change fast and results even faster, thus launching a reengineering transformation. Since IPD, IBM has:
Cut the list of suppliers in half to 33,000.
Driven commonality across the different IBM brands and increased parts reuse to 63%.
Reduced abandoned project ex-penses from 25% to less than 2%.
Improved time to market three to four times across all IBM eServer platforms.
Enhanced operational efficiencies by quantum leaps.

Clearly, IPD has been the vehicle to make this happen—so much so that the IPD process has been turned into an IBM services consulting engagement. Clients are able to take pieces of IPD’s governance model, processes, and enabling tools and technologies to help achieve similar successes.

Based on IBM’s lessons learned, keys to IPD success include:
Executive support. Whether it’s a top down approach driven by the CEO or convincing a board of directors, support from the top will drive participant compliance within the organization and generate the attention it deserves.
Communication: This is essential to get the compliance needed for success. IBM targeted employees, management and executives and rolled out a worldwide training curriculum to explain IPD’s value and its importance to IBM.
Customer focus: IPD enabled IBM to become market driven with clearer customer centric processes.
Building one team: IPD broke down the silos and depended on the ability of cross functional teams to work together and execute.
Benchmarking: Measure progress with key targets while benchmarking against the industry. This is crucial in understanding strengths and weaknesses and to recognize areas that require focus.

Figure 1 illustrates the IPD process (at beginning).

Ever Evolving IPD

The world of on demand is predicated on constant change and rising customer expectations. So the work for IPD is still not complete, particularly as IBM’s products become more complex—integrating services, software and hardware into tightly woven business solutions.

The IPD team continues to improve the product development process by improving supply chain collaboration, particularly with the web of suppliers, external contractors and business partners that are part of IBM’s $40 billion global supply chain.

JIM DICKERSON is the director of integrated product design at IBM’s integrated supply chain division in Poughkeepsie, NY. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Become Self-Reliant

From Joshua Rapoza

Webinar this Thursday, June 22nd, at 2:00 PM Eastern, "How to Use Book Clubs to Become Self-Reliant on Your Lean Journey” with Michael Ballé

Here’s a link to register for this free one-hour webinar: https://www.lean.org/events/june_2017_webinar.cfm

Over the past several years, I’ve been fortunate to meet with people from all types of companies and industries that have used company book clubs as a way to create a culture of learners. The benefit of chapter by chapter analysis, sharing thoughts, learning what others thought really helps bring out the value in books and helps align team members.

The benefits of book clubs is he motivation behind Michael Ballé’s The Gold Mine MasterClass, a free chapter by chapter, video guided book walkthrough. You can access this resource on his Gemba Coach column: https://www.lean.org/balle/

Joshua Rapoza
Customer Strategy Officer
Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Researcher: Ford wants more bio-based materials in its cars

Anaheim, Calif. — At Antec, a Ford Motor Co. research scientist said the automaker is using bio-plastics right now — and is even looking at waste plastics from the oceans.

"Right now all the vehicles in North America, they use soybean oil-based seat backs, seat cushions, and head rests, and even some head liners," said Alper Kiziltas, who works in the materials research department at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich.

Ford has been active in biomaterials since the 1920s, when Henry Ford used wheat straw. The automaker used plastics made from soybeans, hemp and other natural materials in the 1940s.

Ford has come full-circle. Kiziltas said the average Ford vehicle uses 20 to 40 pounds of renewable plastics, such as soy-based foams, seals, and gaskets, caster-oil based foams and plastics with natural-fiber reinforcing materials.

One challenge is making sure the bio-based materials have a good surface finish. "But customers want to see more natural fibers on the surface," he said.

Other issues are odors, moisture sensitivity, degradation, resistance to weathering, and the ability to withstand the harsh environment of cars and trucks, Kiziltas said. Economics are important.

"People always asking, what about Ford Motor Co., are you guys using bioplastic materials?" he said. "And yes, we are looking for bioplastic materials. Bio-based plastics. Biodegradable materials. We are really interested in it all."

But is has to be durable. That's why nylon is used so much in automotive. "You don't want to see your car crumpling or getting ripped in only a couple months," Kiziltas said.

For the starch-based materials, such as polylactic acid or polyhydroxyalkanoate copolymers (PHA), Kiziltas said: "The materials are not durable, and their economics are not yet there [for automotive applications]. And also, the density is higher vs. the polypropylene type of materials."

The Ford research scientist said ocean waste is a huge problem. "We should collect plastic from the ocean, even though it's a mixed stream," he said.

"We need to make sure we work together — engineers, scientists, suppliers, to find a solution for this idea. And we are looking to the oceans. Can we make car parts using ocean plastics?" Kiziltas said.

Other trends include antimicrobial additives in car interiors, so people who use shared cars don't pick up the germs of the last driver. He said research has shown that consumers also want self-cleaning material — they're sick of cleaning dust off the dashboard.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Genichi Taguchi: Quality Engineering Thinker

Genichi Taguchi (1924-2012) was made an honorary member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) in May 1998, one of many awards and commendations bestowed on him. In support of his nomination it was said that his leadership in the quality control field was unsurpassed, and his influence would be felt for a long time in engineering, quality fields and industry sectors, throughout the world.

Taguchi is famous for his pioneering methods of modern quality control and low-cost quality engineering. He is the founder of what has come to be known as the Taguchi method, which seeks to improve product quality at the design stage by integrating quality control into product design, using experiment and statistical analysis. His methods have been said to fundamentally change the philosophy and practice of quality control.

Nanotechnology in the automotive industry


In 2004, Germany, through its Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), established a specific nanotechnology funding program – NanoMobil – in connection with automotive technologies and in order to keep the German car industry and its suppliers competitive. Numerous research institutes, suppliers and automotive companies have been participating in several interdisciplinary projects. The following chart shows the range of topics covered by NanoMobil and gives an indication of the wide range of nano-applications within the automotive sector.............

Read more: Nanotechnology in the automotive industry

VW offers its vision of Industry 4.0

posted by Plastics News

Shanghai — For German carmaker Volkswagen AG, one of the visions for Industry 4.0 includes mobile machinery, with robots cruising around factories and deciding on their own what they’ll do next.

A senior VW executive involved in implementing Industry 4.0, the name for the integration of big data with traditional manufacturing, told a conference at Chinaplas in Shanghai in April that the carmaker is looking at when robots will be mobile and capable of acting more independently.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nanotechnology benefits to the plastic injection mold

Nanotechnology is one of the fastest growing industries around the world. Recent advancements in pharmaceuticals, bio technology, medicine, engineering and material sciences are found in a wide variety of products. The applications and their benefits are limitless.

Nanotechnology refers to the multiple disciplines of science and technology whose common interest is in controlling matter on the atomic and molecular scale. It involves the creation of devices and materials from molecular components with dimensions at the nano scale, which ranges roughly from 1 to 100 nanometers (nm).

A nanometer is defined as one billionth of a meter and is used in measurements that are only visible under extremely high magnifications. To put it into perspective: a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick; a human hair can be between 50,000 and 180,000 nanometers; and there are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch.

Using nanotechnology—to control the behavior of the very atoms that make up molecules—it is now possible to alter and fabricate molecular structures with unique designs. This enables us to tailor make molecules and matter to create materials that offer specialized functions.

These materials can exude different properties at the nanoscale. Some become better at conducting electricity or heat, some are stronger, some offer different magnetic properties, some even change colors as their size is changed, and some significantly change the surface characteristics of products they are applied to.

In short, with nanotechnology there are infinite possibilities for the creation of products that were thought to be impossible.

Nanotechnology and Plastics
The plastics industry has begun embracing nanotechnology in the manufacture of a variety of material additives and nano composites that provide unique benefits in electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, flame retardants and structural integrity.

One of the greatest opportunities for improvement in plastic part production and part quality is in the mold. While moldmakers, design engineers and processors strive for perfection, this is not always realistic.

With current demands to maintain a competitive advantage, moldmakers and molders alike are challenged with highly complicated design requirements, expedited manufacturing expectations, coupled with high raw material prices for molds and resins.

Many parts require tight tolerances with little draft and high level cosmetic finishes. Some require designs that are not ideal for part cooling or part removal. Others require the use of various resin compounds that by their very nature may be prone to sticking and filling issues, as well as part surface imperfections.

A mold coating created using nanotechnology can address these issues, thereby solving significant problems for today’s moldmakers and processors—a semi-permanent, self-applied coating, designed to reduce cycle times, rejects and maintenance, while improving part quality in injection molding, blow molding and rubber molding applications.