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Title: Lean Product Development process structure and its effect on the performance of NPD projects
Author: Taheri, Saeed
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 9433
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2017
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New product development (NPD) has a pivotal role in the industrial competition, and makes a basis for long‐term prosperity of companies. To survive in today's fast‐changing market environment, companies are always trying to improve the performance of their NPD projects, by implementing new approaches, such as Lean Product Development (LPD). Nevertheless, applying such approaches is not straightforward, mainly due to the high level of interdependency between development activities and the role of dynamic effects in the project performance. Understanding the combined effects of dynamic features, including feedback loops, time delays and nonlinear causal relationships, is the main step for achieving higher project performance. In this thesis, the dynamics of LPD process structure is investigated to find the ways it could affect the time, cost and quality performance of a development project. As there is no consensus about the definition of LPD among researchers in this filed, first through a comprehensive literature review different approaches to LPD are studied. Two major approaches for LPD are introduced based on the adaptation of lean manufacturing tools and techniques for optimizing NPD processes, or extracting LPD specific tools and techniques from Toyota Product Development System (TPDS). The second approach is proved to be more applicable, mainly due to fundamental differences between manufacturing and NPD environments, and the LPD process design based on TPDS is selected as the focal point for this research. The combination of Set‐Based approach to design and Concurrent Engineering in the form of SBCE is identified as the unique feature of LPD process structure which have been the topic of several researches in this field during past decade. Set‐based design approach calls for the higher number of iteration cycles at the front end of the projects, and is responsible for higher project effectiveness while increases the time and effort invested. On the other hand, concurrent engineering targets the project duration, and is an efficiency factor, but if not structured properly it could have an opposite effect through increasing the number of rework cycles. Although the performance of TPDS which is the best benchmark for LPD shows the positive effect of SBCE on the projects performance, the reasons behind it and the way through which two approaches could be structured to achieve the favourable results is not clear yet. In addition, while different types of new product development projects, based on VII their levels of complexity and innovation, are defined and executed in companies, it is not clear if SBCE approach has the same impact on all project types. To investigate the reasons behind the superiority of SBCE and its effects in different types of development projects the systems thinking approach is selected as the main research methodology to provide a holistic view on the development projects through looking on interdependencies between performance measures and process structure. System dynamics modelling is used as the research method, due to its capacity in modelling feedback loops and iteration and rework cycles, as underlying factors which determine the time, cost and quality performance in projects. The model is built based on verified structures for rework cycle and resource allocation as the platform for the model, and becomes more specific for the purpose of this research by adding structures related to the iteration cycles, number of initial concepts, and effect of project type. After passing the standard system dynamics validation tests, the model is calibrated using the historical project data from different projects in a major car manufacturing company. The calibrated and verified model then used for the policy analysis by defining different scenarios based on the number of iteration cycles during the conceptual design phase, number of initial concepts and the type of project. All types of projects show the improved performance metrics when moving towards the SBCE approach by increasing the number of iteration cycle. However, the degree of improvement for projects with higher levels of complexity is more profound. In addition, it is concluded for projects with the high level of complexity that increasing the number of initial concepts has the positive effect on all project performance measures. This research results have a methodological contribution by providing a method for rigorous representation of the impact of LPD process structure on projects performance through simulation. From the practical point of view, the developed model could be used by project managers as a guide for making informed decisions which guarantee the long‐term success of development projects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available