Hills, MI - The
Chrysler Group today announced a new product creation system intended
to more closely link the major disciplines of the entire organization,
while positioning the company to achieve reduced vehicle development
times, improved quality and sustained profitability.
The new process
is based on the formation of Product Innovation Teams, which tie
Product Development (Design and Engineering), Manufacturing, Procurement
& Supply, and Marketing even more closely together at all
levels to create a more holistic vehicle development process.
The new system
builds upon the successful platform team approach pioneered by
Chrysler in 1989. This new approach provides greater focus on
the "up front" part of the product creation process,
which includes setting the vision and purpose of every new vehicle.
The main difference is that the organization ensures all major
areas are involved in product creation at every stage, while spreading
best practices throughout the entire system.
is our new blueprint to more quickly and efficiently develop and
market a complete portfolio of distinctive vehicles under the
Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge brands," said Chrysler Group
President and CEO Dieter Zetsche. It provides the potential
for sustained profitability, while allowing Chrysler Group to
do what it does best: create innovative cars and trucks that set
us apart from the competition. This balanced approach is what
we call 'disciplined pizzazz.'"
Innovation Teams consist of three major initiatives:
- A Product
Strategy Team, which is responsible for the "ideation and
discovery" phase of a new vehicle program. This team of senior-level
officers analyzes customer trends, new design ideas, technological
innovation, the macroeconomic environment and other key strategic
issues even before a business case is made to develop and build
a new vehicle line.
Teams, which will now be managed under the co-leadership of Engineering,
Manufacturing and Marketing. Evolved from the company's platform
team concept, these teams are renamed, but still divided into
five vehicle groups
Teams, which assure consistent strategies for innovation, design
excellence and quality, while reducing complexity through more
sharing of components. Component teams ensure a single voice to
the supplier base. Together, they also draw on best practices
across DaimlerChrysler AG, including Mercedes-Benz, and create
the potential to leverage links throughout the entire organization
as well as with the company's alliance partner, Mitsubishi Motors
-- Small Vehicles,
Premium Vehicles, Family Vehicles, Activity Vehicles and Trucks
as well as a Powertrain team that supports the product
teams as before.
all work in concert with the Chrysler Development System (CDS)
, which provides the process for vehicle creation from the vision
of the program all the way through production, using a system
of "quality gates" to assure predetermined objectives
are met at every stage.
Product Strategy Team and parts of CDS are already in place and
have been supporting the recent new product launches of the 2002
Jeep Liberty and Dodge Ram, other new elements of the Product
Innovation Teams are now being put in place. Products planned
for public introduction as soon as the 2004 model year will realize
the full benefit of the Product Innovation Team initiative announced
new system becomes an important building block for the success
of the Chrysler Group over the long term, enabling us to better
leverage the synergies with our partners, Zetsche added.
It will help us more clearly anticipate consumer needs and
desires, and turn concepts into reality faster, while providing
a solid financial foundation.
Team Drives Vision, Ideation Phase
realignment, the Product Strategy Team, a small group of top executives
across key areas of the company, will interact with the other
teams to set the definition and parameters of any potential new
product. The team is charged with analyzing a wide range of input,
including new marketplace trends, new design ideas, the latest
and most relevant technological innovations, the macroeconomic
environment and other key strategic issues even before a business
case is made to develop a new vehicle.
the strategy will not be done by committee, but by the top product
people themselves that lead this company," said Zetsche.
"This provides strong creativity in the concept phase, and
strong discipline in the execution phase."
Build On Platform Team Approach
new product teams are evolved from the platform team concept,
the vehicle groups are now led by a core team comprised of Product
Development (Engineering and Design), Manufacturing and Marketing.
Under the previous system, a senior-level officer was designated
to oversee the platform as the general manager. The new structure
places one of the three core team members as the core team leader.
realignment enables us to strike the right balance between market
pull and technology push, as well as balancing requirements between
development, manufacturing and marketing," said Zetsche.
"We want to make sure we nurture the creativity and risk-taking
that the Chrysler Group people have become known for, while driving
quality up and costs down, thereby increasing shareholder value."
will be divided into areas similar to the previous platform team
structure -- Small Vehicles, Premium Vehicles, Family Vehicles,
Activity Vehicles, Trucks and Powertrain.
clearly defining our vehicle lines by these segments provides
us the opportunity to broaden the potential for all of our brands,"
noted Zetsche. "For example, Jeep, one of the most revered
brands in the industry, could now expand beyond its traditional
scope while still preserving its core values."
Teams Balance Value and Innovation
A key element
of the Product Innovation Team initiative is the creation of component
teams, charged with maximizing value through innovation and quality
for a specific vehicle area or subsystem, while reducing complexity
across all vehicle lines. Replacing the more informal 'Tech Clubs'
used under the platform team structure, component teams will be
divided among the major areas of a vehicle -- Body, Exterior,
Interior, Electrical and Chassis -- and reside within the product
team will also form an alliance with a designate from Procurement
& Supply, providing the capability to leverage the company's
know-how to achieve the best levels of quality, technology and
design while maximizing cost advantage. They also will facilitate
more component sharing across the vehicle groups where such synergies
make sense, while preserving the distinct character and emotional
appeal of each brand through unique exteriors and interiors.
these teams will provide a single voice to suppliers for increased
efficiency and improved communication. In total, about 50 component
teams will be in place by the end of this year.
purpose of these teams is to increase our quality, innovation
and overall efficiency on several levels," said Zetsche.
While the platform teams under the previous structure learned
from each other and improved the process with every successive
new product launch, this approach really is much more comprehensive
and mandates best practices across the entire organization. It
enables us to drive down complexity by reducing the variety of
parts or subsystems used across our vehicle lines under the skin
-- while maximizing our opportunities and freeing up resources
to concentrate on the distinct personalities of the Chrysler,
Jeep and Dodge brands."
Once the scope
of a new vehicle vision is defined, the program will be assigned
to one of the five product teams and follow a comprehensive process
for the entire development cycle, from the earliest stages of
the program through design confirmation and ultimately, to production
Development System (CDS) is already underway at Chrysler, with
this system serving as the blueprint for every new product program.
The CDS employs a series of phases, or "quality gates,"
similar to a system used by Mercedes-Benz, to ensure all performance,
quality and cost objectives are met or even exceeded. Taken together,
these 11 gates are designed to promote earlier planning and accurately
gauge customer needs, reduce cycle time and waste, define and
employ best practices across all product programs and achieve
100% of all pre-established targets. Each product team will be
responsible for achieving objectives in accordance with the CDS.
will optimize the way we develop a new car or truck by using a
system of checks and balances at every stage of the process to
keep every area on target," said Zetsche.
goal of CDS is to preserve all the design excellence and innovation
that Chrysler has become known for, while successfully balancing
often opposing forces such as quality, cost and development times."