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Almost four in ten development projects in mechanical engineering miss their targets

October 8, 2015 | News Germany

Deadlines are missed, costs are too high, quality is compromised: almost four in ten development projects in mechanical engineering in Germany miss their targets. This is the result of a study by the Staufen AG consultancy together with the German Engineering Association (VDMA). 138 companies in this industry took part in the survey. “As our survey shows, far too many companies approach development on gut feelings and without sufficient coordination. Companies are lacking consistent and systematic management from the initial idea to the launch of the product,” explains Dr Andreas Romberg, director of the study and responsible for Lean Development at Staufen AG. The deficits in research, development and construction are evident in hard figures: 38.5 percent of projects do not achieve set targets – and many new developments miss their specifications in a number of different aspects. The greatest problem for mechanical engineers is adherence to agreed delivery deadlines (83 percent). Added to this is exceeding of production costs (59 percent) and of the planned development budget (32 percent). Significantly lower at 13 percent, but still a cause for concern, is the non-compliance with quality requirements. Even though these missed targets are different in nature, their common factor is that they all incur considerable costs for the companies. As Dr Frank Bünting, Business Management director at the VDMA and Lean Development expert explains: “Innovation is the life blood of mechanical engineering, but this is purchased at a very high price because of many additional cost-intensive loops in the development process.” The results of the study by Staufen AG and the VDMA show that to date the principles of efficient and effective development are very differently applied by German mechanical engineering companies. A positive aspect: companies know where they want to get to, 66 percent have a good development strategy. And the processes in many of the surveyed companies are also fit for purpose. But significant weaknesses are apparent, especially in the crucial areas of technology and product development. While companies have realised the potentials associated with standardisation and modularisation, they do not exploit them to their fullest extent. The wheel continues to be reinvented time and again. A clear need for action also becomes apparent in development organisation, in multi-project management and in effective leadership on site, i.e. Shop Floor Management. “Our experience has shown many project leaders frequently unable to give a satisfactory answer to the simple question: ‘Where do you stand in this project?’ However, Shop Floor Management in particular in indirect areas is an important lever in order to ensure the timely completion of development projects,” as Lean expert Romberg points out. The study “Lean development and German engineering 2015” (Staufen AG and VDMA) can be requested from the following address: Kathrin Kurz, Download Study Download Press Graphics    Award and innovations forum for GERMAN INDUSTRY: At the GERMAN INDUSTRY innovations forum in Stuttgart on 3 and 4 November, experts from companies and science show how medium-sized companies can make new products, services or business models ready for the market in a better and faster way. At the same time the “GERMAN INDUSTRY Prize for Innovation” will be awarded for the first time. Outstanding, application-related innovations from medium-sized companies will receive awards. Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, is the patron. For more information about the event, please go to:

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