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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Reducing Production Planning Issues and Scheduling Methodologies to Reduce Time-to-Market Concerns to Be Addressed at marcus evans Conference
Interview With Walter Adams, Vice President, Manufacturing, Chemicals at Baker Hughes, and Speaker at the marcus evans Premiere Manufacturing Integration for New Product Introduction Conference

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/16/12 -- According to research, 70% of resources spent on new product launches are lost. Successfully carrying a product to market involves a number of challenging and complex tasks, each critically linked to the one preceding it. All too often, these efforts fall short of expectations or fail altogether because one or more tasks do not receive the necessary level of attention. Effective cross-functional teamwork is a major contributor to new product success. Manufacturing executives view internal process innovation, linked to the integration of manufacturing into the product pipeline, as the key to long term prosperity.

The marcus evans Manufacturing Integration in New Product Introduction Conference, December 4-5, 2012 in New Orleans, will highlight the next stage in innovation by bringing senior executives in Manufacturing Operations and Product Realization together to uncover leading-edge collaborative processes to carry products to market. By attending, delegates will gain insights into shrinking time to market in order to achieve earlier returns and revenues. Attendees will also identify streamlined, customer-driven manufacturing processes that incorporate comprehensive, cross-functional communications in the ultimate merger between Design and Manufacturing.

Walter Adams, Vice President, Manufacturing, Chemicals at Baker Hughes, and a speaker at the Manufacturing Integration for New Product Introduction Conference, answered a series of questions provided by marcus evans. The responses below strictly reflect the views and beliefs of Walter Adams, and not necessarily those of Baker Hughes.

marcus evans: What are some examples of "unforeseen challenges" in regards to production planning? What are your suggestions for overcoming these challenges quickly and efficiently?

Walter Adams: It is often difficult to fully anticipate requirements during product development. Limitations on raw material or critical component availability can severely limit capacity if not addressed early on; this comes up frequently, particularly with sole source materials developed in collaboration with a vendor. New manufacturing processes, environmental permit issues and operator training are also often overlooked. Building supply chain reviews into the development process are critical to a successful launch. The review needs to address single or sole source materials as well as potential capacity constraints in manufacturing. Product managers who understand both the new technology as well as the limitations of existing manufacturing capabilities can help to identify issues for resolution, as can pilot plant or other personnel involved in scale-up.

marcus evans: Based on your experience, what are some of the most effective strategies to reduce quality issues? How should companies go about implementing these strategies?

WA: Great development engineers and scientists are often "dreamers" who excel in creative environments. Trying to force them to operate within the confines of structured stage-gate and quality processes such as DFSS can be challenging. We find it crucial to funnel projects through a formal scale-up process that requires multiple successful runs to establish a quality control plan and processing conditions. The people involved in scale-up are the experts in this area and their job is to convert a promising new concept into a commercially viable product. For big launches of new technology, structured processes such as PPAP, used by the automotive industry, are very good at improving initial quality. Incorporating failure mode analysis for both the actual design as well as the manufacturing process can significantly reduce defects.

marcus evans: What was the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in regards to manufacturing integration?

WA: Buy-in and commitment from the top level of the organization. If you have that, everything else is manageable. For a gate process to work, executives must make meetings a priority and plan their schedules accordingly. There is nothing more discouraging for a project team than to prepare for a launch meeting, only to find the leadership absent. My advice to leaders is to commit to a process, then be present and be engaged to support it. You will be amazed how people will react.

Walter Adams will be leading the session, "Refining Production Planning and Scheduling Methodologies to Reduce Time-to-Market Concerns" on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at the marcus evans Manufacturing Integration for New Product Introduction Conference.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to network with others involved in manufacturing integration to hear their stories and their ideas. I fully expect to walk away from this conference with new energy and ideas related to successful manufacturing integration," said Adams.

About marcus evans

marcus evans conferences annually produce over 2,000 high quality events designed to provide key strategic business information, best practice and networking opportunities for senior industry decision-makers. Our global reach is utilized to attract over 30,000 speakers annually; ensuring niche focused subject matter presented directly by practitioners and a diversity of information to assist our clients in adopting best practice in all business disciplines.

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