Keithley Instruments

Institutionalizing a New Business Development Process for Increased Success


  • Make better business decisions to maximize return and minimize risk.
  • Accelerate time to market.
  • Address both new businesses and new products.


  • Implemented a consistent and methodical process to analyze, fund, and measure new business opportunities.
  • Focused management time on the programs with the largest resource demands and with the highest degree of risk.


  • Assessment
  • Change Management
  • Product Development Process
  • Strategic Business Development

Keithley Instruments has been designing and manufacturing test instrumentation since 1946. Today, the company is recognized as a world leader in precision electrical measuring instruments and data acquisition products. Traded on the NYSE under the symbol KEI, Keithley approached PDC to assess its existing new business development process and infuse it with best practices to increase the likelihood of success.

New businesses are critical to Keithley's long-term growth and financial performance. PDC helped the company develop a system that ensures new ideas can percolate easily to a level where they can be reviewed, analyzed, and potentially moved forward.

Keithley and PDC collaborated to revamp the company's business development process. Working with a cross-functional team, PDC designed and implemented a process that included Web-based training and an information management system allowing executives to see project dashboards at a glance and review status online. As part of this expanded new business development process, PDC worked with Keithley to initiate

  • a Business Review Board: a multi-functional team serving as independent evaluators through all stages of development;
  • a Stages/Phase Review Process designed to assess the risk and cost of failure at each stage. This process weeds out marginal products early when the risk of failure is high; and,
  • an Out-of-Bounds Review Process: held when a program exceeds or is in danger of exceeding criteria for a phase, project scope, resources, or schedule as well as changes in the competition, regulations, sales forecasts, critical performance requirements, or critical features.

The cross-functional deployment, training, and management participation helped the company rapidly realize the benefits of the new business development process. The process, along with the Web-based information system, enabled management to make better new product decisions faster and enabled the sales force to sell complete solutions effectively when products were announced. This yielded better products and more revenue in a shorter time. By 2000, Keithley joined the ranks of the Russell 2000 index, indicating Wall Street's recognition of its strong company performance and leading reputation.