Needs for Breakthrough Drugs and Treatments
- Spiraling R&D costs
- Ad hoc product definition process
- Facilitating teamwork between R&D and Marketing
- Metrics around new product development process
- Sharpened focus on the most important requirements; limited requirements creep
- New insights from face-to-face
worldwide customer contact
and Marketing teamed up in creative forum for greater involvement and
Product Definition (MDPD®)
Abbott Laboratories faced the issue of spiraling R&D
costs with the same energy and commitment they have for discovering new drugs,
treatments, and diagnostics.
Rigor and discipline are hardly new to Abbott, but rigor and discipline were exactly what Abbott needed for a product definition process that was too ad hoc. "We had processes -- one for every project! We had random formats; we communicated design goals poorly," says Tag Van Winkle, Abbott project manager. "It was time to standardize. We used to have the luxury of developing products that we wanted to put out; we'd get them into the market to see how they did, then if they weren't quite right, we'd put another one out."
Abbott, in collaboration with PDC, implemented Market-Driven
Product Definition (MDPD). This standardized process provided them with a
common method for gathering and evaluating input, put the scientists and
developers face-to-face with customers and ensured that customer input became
part of the design standard.
MDPD enables cross-functional teams to share in
a common purpose and commitment. The process helps team members uncover true
product requirements that would "delight" the customer by exposing
them to the setting in which potential products are used. The result limits
future requirements creep. The additional effort Abbott spent on the
"fuzzy front-end" reduced their R&D costs and enabled them to
release products with high market acceptance.