Duurzame innovatie leidt tot meer winst

Nieuws | de redactie
14 september 2009 | Duurzame innovatie leidt tot kostenreductie en flexibiliteit, zo schrijft lector Anneloes Cordia van de Hogeschool Rotterdam. `It makes sustainable progress possible without spending extra money or adding effort to satisfy loyal customers through improved functionalities or performances. Isn’t that what we all want?'

Everybody agrees that changes will have to come. We have tochange our ways in respect to the environment, but limitedresources will also force us to act more as partners in a businessrelationship in order to cope with the challenges of a globalmarket. This change is no longer voluntary, but a necessity tosurvive and to eventually build strong economies. Deliberatechanges can only be achieved by well-managed innovation. Innovationis more than designing high-tech products and smart Internetservices. Innovations produce cost reductions and flexibility. Itmakes sustainable progress possible without spending extra money oradding effort to satisfy loyal customers through improvedfunctionalities or performances. Isn’t that what we all want?

Sustainable progress can be achieved through the elimination ofwaste, low consumption of materials and energy, and an exact fit ofthe requirements of a client’s needs. This requires more than goodquality control. Quality control can improve processes, but itcannot reorganize them. New business processes provides new output,therefore, the marketing of your products and services will alsochange. When a new product or service is launched, there will beeffects for all primary processes of the value chain. Consequently,an innovation process should include all rationalized possibilitiesof the value chain for fulfilling the demands of the market.Quality and Innovation are, in this respect, the motivators forsustainable improvement.

The management of these kinds of innovations can overwhelmproject leaders when there is no clear course for achieving thedesired innovation output and knowledge. Aiming at a movingtarget during Innovative developments will delay the process, causehigher costs, and lower the quality of the result. Innovation andQuality must merge in order to change organizations for sustainableprogress. Therefore, guidelines will help to innovate to the mostrecognized quality systems (particularly the ISO 9001: 2008 and Designfor Lean Six Sigma .) These make it necessary in an early stageto define requirements and constraints of a new development – notonly on functionality and performance levels, but also integrallyon the level of modules, systems and processes that will producethe offer to the market. Multidisciplinary involvement for definingthe new development must start from the beginning in order tocontribute and monitor the results for the improvement of theventure’s performance.

Benefits of fast product introductions to increase competitiveadvantage can be achieved by speeding up innovations.Systematically shortening the time to market is possible through anagreement on an innovation program that includes all necessaryrules and processes. These should be similar for every innovationwithin your company. The ISO 9001: 2008 standard specifies that thecompany’s organization must be geared towards effectivelyfulfilling the requirements of your customers. This also means thatthe external processes, with all their inputs and outputs, of themembers of the supply chain must be included in these procedures.Because multidisciplinary involvement is a necessity for goodquality output of the innovation result, these procedures must bedefined in consensus. Responsibilities, activities, and the inputof ‘go/no go’ decisions at milestones have to be agreed upon forevery stage in the development process. The interaction with allother procedures within ISO 9001 can be incorporated for aneffective workflow.

Design for Lean Six Sigma (DFSS ) keeps the processes clear, governable,predictable, and results-oriented; it will form the conditionswhich minimize the chance of errors and the prevention of wastewhilst shortening the process time. These processes are formedduring the innovation development with the new product and itsassociated services. Using the philosophy of DFSS will make theproducts and services more robust because design specificationswill meet the process capabilities; the (outsourced) systemcomponents can also be valued on customer demands rather than atheoretical hypothesis. These characteristics are all designchoices that effectively can simplify quality control and reduceproduction waste. Therefore, it speaks for itself; use theprinciples of strategic quality management as a rule when makingdecisions during the realization of the innovation. During theinnovation development, all disciplines must focus on opportunitiesfor improving the venture’s performance while actively contributingto process upgrades. All these contributions must be put in effectby the innovation manager. The role of the innovation manager isalso the role of advisor, thus responsibilities can be shared in acorrect manner and activities focused. The board of directors willvalue the results and plans for the next stage and can steer theproject on strategic parameters.

During the innovation process, many strategic choices must bemade. Moreover, the business processes must be formed during theinnovation for the whole supply chain. Your organization must bemotivated to function according to the new rules of qualitymanagement. Of course, this requires a mutual interest in theimprovement of your business processes. All supply chain partners,as well as your own corporation will benefit from organizing yourinnovation processes. The result is that your innovation projectswill gain in speed, efficiency, and cost-awareness. ISO 9001: 2008and DFSS can support these processes in a natural way. Cost savingand sustainable progress should be complementary.

Anneloes Cordia has supported many multinationals and combinesher professional work with a position as Professor in ‘Innovationand Entrepreneurship’ at the Rotterdam University for AppliedScience.  Her latest book the ‘Innovation Management Practice Handbook’ isavailable as an eBook.  All innovation methodologiesdescribed in this book have been verified during her 25 years ofexperience as (interim) project manager in innovation for adiversity of technologies and markets.

Contact her at cordia@productrealisatie.nl.


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