Transition Prototype to Production

by Kim H Pries

When we are engaged in prototype development during the early to late middle phases of our new product delivery process, we usually purchase components through maintenance, repairs, and operation (MRO) purchasing. This type of purchasing is managed on an as-needed basis, and often, is not automated. We purchase the parts we need in relatively small quantities because we are not yet in production. At this point in our process, this approach is reasonable and effective. The part cost is high but we are not at risk of having any parts we need to throw away.

As we move through the process, however, we reach a point where we begin to transition from prototypes to sellable products. For these products, we most commonly use manufacturing resource planning (MRP) purchasing, which is nearly always automated. As developers, we have seen huge discontinuities in delivery when shifting from MRO to MRP purchasing. MRP purchasing has some different characteristics:

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The Power of the Routine Task

One of the most important concepts we have seen in any environment where we need to get things done is the POWER OF THE ROUTINE TASK. Basically, we make any work that needs to be accomplished part of a routine, say, in the morning, when we begin our workaday activities.

Some of these tasks are items we do every day. Some of them we only do for two weeks or even less time. The point is that they get done because we set aside a few minutes a day to work on them. This approach is a rational alternative to the unacceptable “I didn’t have time to do it.” Of course, the power of the routine task requires a smidgen of planning in order to be effective, but effective it is.

I wrote my first book in 30 days using this approach. Every day, I set myself a specific number of pages and graphics that needed to be completed that … Continue reading

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