Consumer Products WorkOut Process delivers simplification and better cross-functional relationships

Industry: Retail

Expertise: Innovation, Simplification, WorkOut

Schaffer Team: Ron Ashkenas, Celia Kirwan

The new product development process of a consumer products conglomerate needs an overhaul. WorkOut process provides a clear-cut solution that delivers results and enhances cooperation

Simplifying Company Guidelines with the WorkOut Methodology

People were not following company guidelines because they were too complex. Schaffer Consulting used the WorkOut methodology to bring together all players to develop and implement a new end-to-end process they all agreed upon.

New, Simple Process Needed

A large food manufacturer engaged in a multi-year strategy to reduce business complexity had identified two critical issues with its new product development process: it was overly complex and many of the operating units didn’t follow it. The company asked Schaffer to help the operating units agree on a simple, robust, and collaborative process for introducing new products that they would all follow.

Defining Success Criteria End-To-End

Our consultants worked with senior leaders from R&D, the operating units, and finance to define success criteria for simplifying the new product development process and identified 10 design criteria. We designed and facilitated a WorkOut to bring end-to-end process participants together in three sub-process teams – new product initiation, new product feasibility, and commercialization – to define and implement simplified processes and present their ideas to senior leaders for approval. The teams pressure tested the changes with a set of early stage ideas in high priority product platforms. Schaffer assisted with the communication, education and training of those involved in implementing the simplified process as well as driving implementation discipline across the operating units and other functions.

Simpler Process Equals Meaningful Process

A simpler process was implemented across the organization in 90 days. It included defined stages and gates, meaningful gate deliverables, and metrics to drive decisions, ownership, and the approval process. Working together to build the new process developed stronger cross-functional linkages and visibility. The WorkOut process helped teams deliver faster, more effective screening of new ideas as well as the ability to ‘learn early and fail cheap’.


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