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Optimizing the process for New Product Development
Emna BEN JEMIA
Optimizing the process for New Product Development, BEN JEMIA Emna, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, Master Qualité et Performance dans les Organisations (QPO), Mémoire d'Intelligence Méthodologique du stage professionnel de fin d'études, juin 2016, www.utc.fr/master-qualite, puis "Travaux", "Qualité-Management", réf n° 344
Stage Gate process has become a popular idea-to-launch system among innovative organizations that develop new products.
Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor in
Saint-Gobain Glass Mr. Loic Jourdaine the R&D manager for
his continuous support, for his immense knowledge and guidance
throughout the internship.
I would like to thank also the responsible of the specialty Mr. Gilbert Farges for the quality of the courses and his insightful encouragement and support throughout the academic year.
My thanks also go to my advisor from UTC Mme Zohra Cherfi for her valuable advice and support during my professional experience.
I would like to extend my thanks to all the staff in Saint-Gobain Glass France and Germany, for their involvement and collaboration that contributed to the success of the project. I thank Mr. Marco Mueller the Head of Quality Management in HRDC for his kindness, collaborative work and providing me with fruitful information.
Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their unconditional love and support during this year. I would not have been able to achieve this without their presence in my life.
A special thanks goes to my parents who have always supported me and incented me to strive towards my goal. Words cannot express how grateful I am … I hope I have made you proud of me.
1.1 General presentation of Saint-Gobain
1.2 Saint-Gobain Glass
1.3 R&D in Saint-Gobain
2. CONTEXT AND ISSUES
2.2 Problem and issues
2.3 Risk Analysis
3. Optimization of the R&D Stage Gate Process
3.1 Presentation of the Stage Gate
3.3 Problem solving methodology
3.4 Results and perspectives
Over the last decades and to adapt to the ever-changing economy and growth, Innovation has become a critical skill to achieve success.
In fact, innovation generates long term advantages and contributes to a rise in position in a competitive scale and allows the organization to cross new performance thresholds. It is vital for the organization to be innovative in order to keep the profitability and competitiveness at the best level.
Therefore, every organization
urges for the need to improve its business process for the sake of
effectiveness and efficiency.
The innovation has always been at the heart of Saint-Gobain values. In order to maintain its innovation’s culture Saint-Gobain keeps enhancing the quality of the daily life by continuously delivering innovative and high performance materials.
The innovative materials represent
24% of Saint-Gobain 2015 consolidated sales. They are subdivided
into 2 main types of products: Flat glass and High Performance
The following figure 1 shows the types of innovative materials produced by Saint-Gobain in 2013 and their corresponding percentage.
1 : Innovative materials sectors sales for 2013 
In order to drive their projects
from ideation to industrialization faster and with limited risks
and commercial failures, most innovative companies have
implemented a Stage Gate process.
A recent research made by the Product Development and Management Association PDMA showed that nearly 60 percent of the firms surveyed are adopting the Stage Gate Process for their new product development .
The Stage Gate process is conceptual and operational model of new product/process management. This model enables firms to continuously assess their core capabilities and better manage their development projects through the gate reviews.
It is a tool that assists project team to better understand and control the status of the project and reduce the risks throughout the stages.
The overall purpose of the Stage
Gate process is to bring both scientific and business management
rigor to conduct projects.
However, the Stage Gate process
remains a complex approach and sometimes includes non-valued work.
Thus, it needs to be constantly reviewed and improved.
Making the Stage Gate process
more flexible, focused and including fluid and adaptable gate
reviews is very essential to make it operational and vital.
This present thesis is the outgrowth of a dedicated 5-month work at Saint-Gobain Glass Industry in the R&D control Department as part of an internship to obtain my master’s degree in Quality and Performance Assessment in Organizations at the University of Technology of Compiègne.
My main mission was focused on
optimizing the existing R&D Stage Gate process for
Saint-Gobain Glass Industry and integrating the Early Management
Pillar of the World Class Manufacturing in this process.
Figure 2 : History of Saint-Gobain
Saint-Gobain is one of the top 100
industrial groups worldwide. It is worldwide group present in 66
countries in the habitat and high performance materials . It
has over 500 manufacturing facilities across the world and is
still growing in emerging countries (Figure 3).
3 : Keys figures by geographic area for 2015
Saint-Gobain is a unique and
committed organization with an operation excellence at the heart
of its culture. It is a world or European leader in all its
businesses. It has also an exceptional innovation potential thanks
to its expertise in distribution and its research and development
It consistently provides high value
added solutions responding to the needs of market with a detailed
knowledge and analysis.
Saint-Gobain is an innovation-driven group. The strategy of Saint-Gobain is focused on 3 priority axes: Differentiation, strong market positions and internationalization.
The group has 3 activities hubs, organized as followed (Figure 4): and their corresponding net sales and operating income (Figure 5).
Figure 5 : Key Figures by sector for 2015: Net Sales and Operating Income
• Innovative materials: It deals with various fields including the habitat, transport, health and industry. It is subdivided into two types of materials:
- Flat Glass (flat glass, building transformation and distribution, automotive glazing, specialty glass)
- High-Performance Materials: ceramic materials, abrasives, performance plastics, technical fabrics.
• Construction products: It provides solutions for interior and exterior living spaces : plaster, insulation, facade coatings, roofing products and pipes.
• Building distribution: It delivers the new construction, renovation and habitat finishing markets. (Building materials distribution, new building and renovation, volume and specialist brand networks, services and solutions, information and training for customers …)
Moreover, 80% of Saint-Gobain sectors’ sites have adopted the WCM (World Class Manufacturing) program: a lean manufacturing program.
Habitat: fire resistant and security glass, high energy efficiency glass, self-cleaning glass, tintable glass, active glass switching from transparent to translucent, decorative glass, lighting mirror, heating glass, glass door for ovens…
Healthcare: ecological mirror, glass anti-ionizing radiation X, double glazing with integrated blinds…
Transportation: Ultra-thin glass or polycarbonate lightweight glazing, Head-up display, Laminated windshield, Panoramic car roof, Bus windshield, Cockpit windows…
1.3 R&D in Saint-Gobain
• 3700 researchers are working for Saint-Gobain.
• Nearly 350 patents were filed in 2015.
• 8 main research centers in the United States, France, Germany, China and India (Figure 7).
• 1 in 4 Saint-Gobain products sold today did not exist five years ago.
• Checklist: Criteria to evaluate the project, a list of questions.
• Deliverables: The outputs to the decision point. The results of the tasks completed during the stage.
• Decision: a Go /No-Go/ Rework /Put on hold decision where the path forward to the next stage.
+ + +
- - -
documentation basis: Innovator
- Continuous improvement.
gate review checklists
tools used in the different R&D
centers (gate checklist, Product
than one data base for R&D
of training of the project leaders
- Bureaucratic system (many deliverables, non-added-value items, many meetings and committees…)
3.3 Problem Solving methodologyIn order to adopt a robust problem solving methodology a Deming Circle was designed (Figure 12). SGRD refers to Screen, Go, Review and Deploy.
1. First feedback about the proposal of the gate checklist’s new version (Format, sections …)?
2. Is there any incomprehensible question?
3. Do you consider this question mandatory or optional?
4. Is there any missed question at this stage that is killer to the project?
5. Do you suggest any other areas of improvement?
- Evaluation of the steering committee
- Rating of the project auditThe project audit was conducted by a qualified auditor internal to the organization: the head of quality management in the R&D center of Germany.
- 2 tools of gate review: Gate checklist (excel sheets), Product Launcher (intranet).
- One common tool: Intranet for the whole process from ideation to Industrialization.
- Heavy tools, Many questions, redundant questions, some poorly phrased questions
- Ergonomic facilitator tool (Intranet) for the Stage-Gate process, streamlined checklists, focused questions and easy to understand.
- 4 sections:
R&D to be filled by the R&D project leader.
MARKETING to be filled by the Marketing responsible.
PRODUCTION to be filled by the WCM responsible.
DECISION to be filled by the Steering Committee.
- Many deliverables (too much paperwork)
- Fewer deliverables (only the project’s killers)
- Problems using the tool
- Project leaders are left on their own and gathering project data and managing documents on their way.
- Strengthened training of the project leaders to the new tool.
- Project leaders not very involved and motivated.
- Raising awareness about the importance of the new tool to better manage projects and involvement of all project leaders from the different R&D centers.
- Informing and involving all project leaders from the different centers.
- Templates for deliverables proper to HRDC and CRDC
Templates do not exist for other R&D centers
- Common templates for deliverables to be used by all the R&D centers within SGG
(useful guide to help structure the bare essential information)
- The gate checklists are filled by the Project leader
- The new tool is filled by all stakeholders
- Improvement of communication skills (French and English skills)It was no doubt a valuable experience which allowed me to discover new horizons. My previous professional experiences were mainly focused in laboratories and thanks to my internship within Saint-Gobain I have learned what are beyond laboratories and what is the purpose of Research and Development and what comes next: A whole step by step process. I therefore have learned the methodology of conducting R&D projects and their key elements.
- Increase of autonomy
- Project management
- Self-control capacity
- Put in practice the Quality tools
- Keys points to manage R&D projects (technical vocabulary …)