In today’s competitive environment, how do manufacturers not just survive, but thrive? With tight budgets, how do they also develop innovative products and get them to market more quickly? The answer is Scrum.
What is Scrum?
It’s a process framework for developing products, all the way from envisioning the product to its completion. To put it simply, cross functional team members come together to develop products in an iterative flow that solves problems in real time.
Benefits of Scrum
Here are a few worth mentioning: reduced speed-to-market timelines, lower product development costs, products are more on-target with customer needs, more engaged technical employees, and increased profitability.
Scrum for Hardware
Scrum has historically been used for software development. To a lesser degree, it’s been used on manufactured goods, such as cars, computer hardware, and aerospace products. However, it’s not common for Scrum usage on manufactured goods, aka Scrum for Hardware. A real need definitely exists (how many manufacturers don’t want to accelerate the speed-to-market for their products?)!
Case Study: Schier Products
With the lack of established precedent, how does one go about implementing Scrum for manufactured goods? I had the same question and therefore began work on an answer.
Schier Products in Edwardsville, KS, wanted to do exactly what we’re talking about: implement a Scrum strategy for product development purposes. Their existing stage gate process was both inefficient and ineffective; their last new product development effort required two years to complete! Schier’s goal was to speed up their development timelines. I partnered with them to do just that.
Adapting Scrum to Hardware
Although my knowledge of Scrum is extensive, I had never before applied Scrum principles to manufactured goods, so there was a short period of trial and error. Hardware is obviously different from software in a lot of ways, so it took some adaptation and ingenuity to make Scrum work for them.
The end result has been amazing! It required two months to develop and implement the process, and it took only 10 months to launch their newest product. That’s a 58% increase in speed-to-market! That is a whole lot better than two years!
The Bottom Line
Scrum is a strong solution for increasing speed-to-market timelines for manufactured goods, as evidenced by Schier’s success. But their story is still being written. It’s only been a couple of months since their product launch, so tune into my next blog to hear more as the story unfolds!
If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at 816-429-1042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Kent Toney
I'm passionate about helping organizations grow profitably in ways they haven't imagined!