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Success Story

Reorganisation and focusing the R&D

The customer was able to halve the time-to-market with constant investments and so introduce substantially more new products to the market – a result of reorganisation and focusing the R&D functions.

Task

Due to changed market conditions Phonak Hearing Systems wants to stop focusing on the high-end market segment and develop the company to offer a full range of products. In this context the organisational conditions are to be created whereby – under the same personnel capacity – the goals are to triple the annual number of new products and substantially reduce the time-to-market. Zühlke assisted Phonak as consultants to meet these goals.

Implementation

First, Zühlke analysed the existing R&D organisation and its integration with Marketing and Operations, in order to point out substantial optimisation potentials and fields of operation.

Building on this, a model for the reorientation of the R&D functions was compiled and converted:

  • Introduction of a comprehensive platform strategy for the entire product assortment with two of different brands.
  • Replacing the functionally and technically aligned structure by a process orientated and interdisciplinary organisation. The know-how exchange was made possible with systematic job rotations.
  • Consistent separation from technology platform and product development.
  • The organisation realigns itself to the defined platforms.
  • Introduction of an integral platform definition process and comprehensive optimisation of the innovation processes
  • Clear role definition and division of responsibilities between projects manager and system architect.

Customer benefits

First, Zühlke analysed the existing R&D organisation and its integration with Marketing and Operations, in order to point out substantial optimisation potentials and fields of operation. Building on this, a model for the reorientation of the R&D functions was compiled and converted: Reorganisation and the focusing of the entire R&D functions achieve the following goals with unchanged investments:

  • Trebling of the number of product introductions was made possible.

  • Halving “time to market” for new products to 6 to 12 months.

  • New product and process understanding as a condition for the successful use of platforms

  • Improved industrialisation of the products.

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