The role of performance measurement during product design & development in a manufacturing environment
Effectively managing and measuring the product development process is widely seen as a means of ensuring business survival through reduced time to market, increased quality and reduced costs. This thesis explores the research question of "How do companies know that they are making effective use of their product design and development function?". A review of the literature in this area revealed that there is a distinct lack of detail available on how measurement of product development should be approached. Where articles do exist, it was found that most report on isolated projects or jump from problem solving straight through to results, without explaining the methodology used. Additionally, both in the literature and in practice, many applications of performance measures to date have been incomplete - without due consideration being given to monitoring and controlling the whole design and development process. For example one tool or technique has been introduced in isolation or schemes have been introduced without evidence of the benefits gained. This thesis documents the development of an implementation framework and a tool (usable in the form of a workbook) to enable a Project Manager, Concurrent Engineering or Process Improvement Champion to use performance measures to improve decision-making during the product development process. The investigative part of the research was carried out by following a longitudinal case study approach with sustained participation in the organisation. This was supplemented by a series of follow-up cases, together with results from surveys to academics and industrialists both in the UK and overseas. Through interpreting the literature and triangulating the results from the data collection and analysis, a number of principles surrounding performance measurement in this area were identified. These were then grouped into system-related and metrics-related principles. Opinions of European managers were gained throughout to ensure direct applicability. The resulting Performance Measurement for Product Development (PMPD) Methodology, consisting of an implementation framework and accompanying practical paper-based workbook (with software extensions), was tested in two companies to determine its usability. These testbeds yielded encouraging results and provided opportunities for further refinement and improvement. The next step will be further testing and refinement in a wider range of applications. It is believed that the research outputs of the international survey results, generic PMPD Implementation Framework, Workbook and Training Guidelines have together made a positive contribution to understanding and measuring the product development process in manufacturing organisations.