Lead Time Reduction in Development - A Case Study


Hutton, David; Boyer, Steve   (1991, ASQC)   David Hutton & Associates, Ottawa, Ontario

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9598    May 1991    pp. 14-18
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Article Abstract

This abstract is an edited version of the authors' original.

In 1986, Mitel Telecom Ltd., an international telecommunications equipment manufacturer, launched a company-wide quality improvement effort in an effort to reverse financial difficulties. Mitel employed classic just-in-time (JIT) methods throughout the development process, including design.

After a year of education and groundwork, results began to flow rapidly. In just 12 months, dramatic improvements were obtained in �price of non-conformance�, WIP inventories, manufacturing cycle time, in-process yields and outgoing product defect rates. Mitel achieved all of this without any significant investment in plant or facilities.

Mitel began to refocus attention on satisfying the external customer. The key factor was lead time for custom prototypes. The processes were flowcharted and analyzed and, as a result, they revised the largest element of lead time, the manufacturing process, making it capable of differentiating between prototype and production requirements.

With a streamlined and simplified development process, it became feasible to apply JIT principles. This was done, and substantial results were obtained. During 88-89, lead time for custom prototypes was cut from 22-24 weeks to 12 weeks. During 89-90, it was further reduced from 12 to 6 weeks. Both design and production defect rates are now approaching zero.


Customer focus,Just in Time (JIT),Cycle time,Manufacturing,Mitel Telecom Ltd.,Process improvement,Quality management (QM),Telecommunications industry,Case study

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