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High-Precision Manufacturer



High-Precision Manufacturer


Manufacturer of tools for complex electronic equipment was experiencing a 60% reduction in sales due to the economic downturn and needed help in managing inventory.


  • Determine the appropriate manufacturing model.
  • Encourage stakeholder involvement during the design process to build in quicker assembly and checkout support.


  • Defined a manufacturing strategy that maximizes inventory turns.
  • Validated the gating process to ensure that all projects deliver expected business results.
CS-169 large

Case Study

Optimize Product Development Lifecycle & Reduce Inventory


A manufacturer of tools for complex electronic equipment for the automotive electronics, semiconductor and wireless telecommunications industries was experiencing a 60% reduction in sales due to the economic downturn. Overall, the company’s leadership was experienced in managing through the cyclical financial swings typical of the industry, but they sought assistance in managing inventory, which was exacerbated by the downturn. It was important that the company formalize the product life cycle continuum and reinforce the stage gate process to validate assumptions driving new product introduction at each phase of the development process.

Highland Approach

The Highland Group enlisted key stakeholders in an analysis of the company’s New Product Introduction process, identifying and detailing the key issues driving excess inventory, and then developed an optimized manufacturing strategy. The co-team validated and tightened down the existing product life cycle process from new product introduction idea generation through obsolescence and spare parts support.

Actions Taken

  • Determined the appropriate manufacturing strategy by business unit and product.
  • Identified the products within each business unit that needed to be reengineered to fit the appropriate strategy.
  • Ensured that all current New Product Introduction projects conform to the build strategy.
  • Reviewed the New Product Introduction process to validate strategies for product end of life, cannibalization, service and material risk buy.
  • Developed a process to rank and select product initiatives based on sound business criteria.
  • Ensured project management interfaces and systems provided proper communication to project status, issues encountered, cost incurred, and time and cost remaining.
  • Developed a process of early involvement of all key stakeholders to minimize the potential over-commitment to inventory.
  • Emphasized concurrent, cross-functional teams using best practices to reduce rework, missed deadlines and poor quality.

Developed a methodology for the selection and prioritization of re-design initiatives

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