There is a lot of fuss about new technologies and their potential to improve product functionality and performance. “It can be a new material, a new sensor or a new method, such as using lasers instead of electrical energy,” explains Perry Parendo. However, Parendo, president of product development coaching firm Perry’s Solutions LLC, believes the focus should be less on the technology and more on the customer. “Adding some things might be easy, like B. the integration of a WIFI option – but does the customer really need it?
“More could be done to address new customer needs, which opens the door for new technologies,” he continues. “It’s about providing customers with ‘unprecedented’ technologies.” The challenge for engineers is to understand these customer needs and determine whether new technologies offer added value to meet them.
Parendo will be speaking on emerging technologies and risk management at the upcoming Advanced Manufacturing Minneapolis event. In “Introducing Technology with Reduced Risk” he will examine a different process for managing the development of new technologies. “Managing a project with just existing technology should be handled differently than a new product with new technologies,” he says. “The problem is – they’re not what I see in companies. They are either managed equally or not at all. My presentation is about a different process for the development of new technologies.”
Parendo will also present “Risk Management: Lessons Learned” and provide tips on how to implement ISO 14971.
design news Before the fair, Parendo asked some questions about new technologies, product development, risk management, technical challenges and more.
What challenges do engineers face, especially in product development, and how could new technologies help them?
Parendo: New technologies are usually added to existing products. While there are many good features, I think that as new technologies are added, efforts should be made to streamline, simplify, and even eliminate existing features. This reduces costs and improves usability without sacrificing product performance. The challenge is understanding the value proposition and taking appropriate action.
Does the product development process need to be radically changed, or is step-by-step change possible?
Parendo: Organizations seem to be drawn to radical process changes, but I think making the best of existing processes would have the massive impact desired. For example, we could benefit from making sure our team is motivated. We could also benefit from understanding and fully exploiting the value of the process steps. Organizations tend to emphasize different phases or aspects of the development process to create competitive advantage, but the radical changes tend to balance out generic process attributes. Do better what creates your competitive advantage and do it better than anyone else. Perfecting every step brings too little benefit compared to the effort required to implement it.
For example, some companies emphasize requirements generation and others focus on concept development. These require different tools and skills. Concentrate on the ones that impact your area of focus and you will be much happier with the result.
How are engineers advocating for both types of change in their departments?
Parendo: If the value in a key process step is not recognized by other groups, someone experienced in extracting the value should take on a mentoring role. A few process steps should feel like pure bureaucracy, and even these should be simplified and could benefit from mentoring. This mentoring could improve the use of a tool or related skills.
How can risks be managed when switching to the use of new technologies?
Parendo: Probably the easiest way to manage risk is to develop multiple concept options. Some have the new technology and some with other advances. If the new technology works in a reasonable time, this option can be continued (if it makes sense for other reasons). If it doesn’t work as desired, the new product can always come up with another option. This leaves more time for technology development and a future new technology product release.
Is there a misunderstanding about the development process that would help new technologies?
Parendo: Too often we test to validate what we know, but that almost negates our ability to make big strides to improve. With new technology, we need to accelerate the speed of learning. This requires a different testing and thinking style. A highly efficient method for this is Design of Experiments (DOE), which can be used successfully in R&D situations. This is the only way I’ve found to make incremental improvements with new design concepts.
How will your session help product developers and design engineers?
Parendo: The Adoption of Technology with Reduced Risk session presents 5 areas to improve the technology development process. Each area has multiple options, and each alone can create a major advantage. Selecting those most relevant to your business can have significant and timely impact.