Or, as Close to the End as You Can Get
You have worked really hard on your project up to this point. You have gathered all of the pertinent information regarding the machine that will help reduce or eliminate “blind” waste. You have developed multiple concepts to solve the problem. By using a new product development (NPD) process that fits your liking, you have whittled those concepts to the “one true” solution. You have even built a prototype and tested it every possible way that you can and have received valuable feedback from the user group.
“Are we ready to implement this change?”
“Have we missed anything?”
“Shouldn’t we do more testing?”
Those are common questions that NPD teams have all of the time at this phase of the process.
Are you ready?
No one is ever ready for change. So you just have to do it.
Have you missed anything?
Any feature? Any detail?
Any change in business climate?
You don’t know what you don’t know. So you just have to do it.
Shouldn’t we do more testing?
Is there any test that could prove, or disprove, any of the results you have obtained to this point?
If not, you just have to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” The difference between plans and planning is action and reaction.
Your detailed implementation plans are in writing, but what are you going to do if something goes awry as they often do? That is where planning comes in.
So what is the first step?
The first step in your detailed launch plan is to install the machine into its final work cell where it will become a part of your physical process.
Or is it?
- Did the users get training on the changes to the process that this machine brings?
- Did they trial run the “final” design during the test phase to make sure they understand how it will run at production speeds?
- Did the maintenance people get training on how to spot issues and to prevent them?
- Has a maintenance schedule been established based on the suggested service intervals of the critical components?
- Do you have spare parts at the ready in case something breaks down?
Then you are ready for the installation process to begin.
Hey! Where does the design team think they’re going?
The installation step isn’t a chance for them to “dump and run.”
They will be an integral part.
They know the machine the best, and can answer last minute questions.
They can help assembling or moving the machine to its final location. However, they aren’t the only ones that should be involved. The user group and maintenance people should be involved too.
The installation gives them a different perspective of the machine in front of them and will give insight into the operation and maintenance of it.
After installing the machine that will eliminate large portions of waste, you look over the startup checklist.
Everything is ready. It’s time to “push the green button.” The machine finally comes to life.
It’s Production Time!
Again, this is not the time to just pat yourself on the back and walk back to your office feeling like everything is right in the world. The hard work has just begun.
During this startup step the machine should be checked against the results of the test and validate phase. Is it producing the same results?
Where one phase ends another begins. The next installment will discuss the evaluation phase of the process.
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