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Introduction and challenges

The R&D, engineering or product development function represents only 2 to 5% of a companies’ costs. As the start of the entire operations chain, it can lead to its success as much as it can cause issues and disappointment. In a context where operations are constrained to meet market requirements, controlling R&D is a key performance issue.

All sectors, from small series industry (aeronautics, defence, railways, etc.) to mass distribution and luxury, are motivated to meet three major customer expectations: adjusting quickly and efficiently to innovation and customisation demands, accelerating the pace of product renewal and to reducing production costs.

Innovation, with contributions from digitisation, leads to a broadening of the range of skills required and increases the complexity of products and associated services. To meet this new need for skills, a reflection on corporate strategy (core/non-core, extended company, career management, recruitment, organisation/grouping/localisation) must make it possible to maximise the added value of the R&D function without increasing its costs.

Complexity (system of systems, connectivity, digitisation) and personalisation are similar in that they require a rethinking of the design approach to maintain product expertise at a human level. The organisation, processes and secondly the “tools” of R&D must be adapted to these new constraints.

Finally, the acceleration in pace and the search for savings are based on the planning and control of the design and industrialisation processes, as is the Lean Six Sigma approach in production on the execution and excellence of the supply chain to forecast and plan activities.

How we can help

Argon & Co supports its clients in several ways:

  • Redefinition of the product design and industrialisation process to establish a standard procedure and manage deadlines
  • Implementation of a management system for innovation and development projects based on visual planning tools (Visible Planning) to reach the target (Time To Market/Cost/Quality)
  • Implementation of continuous improvement, based on the analysis of the planning execution, with the aim of improving performance (Time To Market/Cost/Quality)
  • Analysis of the value of innovations to create a business case and to calculate the target price of a product
  • Implementation of a load management model and a management strategy for scarce resources
  • Design to value to increase the value of a product for customers and maximise margin
  • Support in the implementation of product development tools – PLM (product lifecycle management) and PPM (program portfolio management) to accelerate and secure the development process (unified change management, resources and budget management)
  • Implementation of digital continuity: from prototype to finished process to reduce cycle times and improve quality
  • Implementation of modularisation and MBSE (model-based system engineering) to control the design of complex products and reduce non-recurring costs
  • Definition of the R&D footprint (core/non-core strategy and implementation of the extended company) to maximise performance