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Lean Product Development

Design & Innovation

Lean Product Development

In this project we researched how the Lean improvement method and corresponding tools can be used to simplify and improve the development process, to make it more predictable, etc

Type project VIS-project
Project partners Sirris en Flanders Inshape
Duration November 01, 2013 - May 30, 2016
Contact person Maka De Lameillieure, PhD

Target group


The primary target group consists of some 380 Flemish companies, 85% of which are SMEs, in the technological industry, that develop complex mechanical or electromechanical products. The secondary target group consists of companies in the textile-, clothing manufacturing, wood, furniture and food industry that are forced by market pressure to develop more products/services in an increasingly shorter time span. Within this large target group, six companies have been identified for which the results will already be transferred during the project.

Problem definition

In the past years, part of the target group heavily invested in the improvement of the product development process (e.g. via the introduction of stage gate processes, CAD/PLM systems…). Often this has led to significant progress, mainly in risk management and transparency. However, there is still a big need for an even shorter time to market and increased designer productivity by eliminating dissipation in the design process (design iterations, waiting for information and decisions, unproductive meetings…). Companies now clearly need a different approach to realize the next breakthrough.

Lean product development as a solution

Examples set by a few foreign forerunners indicate that a big leap forward can be taken with the introduction of a number of methods that are bundled under the name ‘lean product development’. This approach was originally developed by Toyota and differs largely from the classical approach in a number of aspects. Lean product development contains a set of principles and methods aimed at maximizing development value and minimalizing dissipation in the development process.
Companies in the target group indicate that they lack the necessary application knowledge and powerful Flemish examples to take the leap towards lean product development.

Project goals and results

Flanders Inshape en Sirris bundelden hun competenties en ontwikkelden in dit project een pragmatische aanpak voor de invoering van lean product development bij de doelgroep. Dit vertaalonderzoek initieert en ondersteunt de start van lean product development in Vlaanderen. De voornaamste resultaten van het project zijn:Flanders Inshape and Sirris combined their competencies and developed a pragmatic approach for the introduction in this project of a lean product development in the target group. This translation research initiates and supports the start of lean product development in Flanders. The main project results are:

  • Publications on the state-of-the-art principles around lean product development
  • A scenario with a practical methodology on the initiation of a lean product development
  • 6 exhaustive cases with companies in the target group to adjust and validate their approach
  • An active learning network between companies to share the acquired insights on introduction of a lean product development.
  • The transfer of research results to the target group.
  • The development of a technological service ‘lean product development’ built on active dissemination of knowledge and sensibilization.

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Maka de lameillieure

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Maka De Lameillieure, PhD

Phone: +32 498 91 94 99

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