Ohio Awards TechSolve and UC $1.88 Million to Fund Lean Product Development Pilot | Automation.com

Ohio Awards TechSolve and UC $1.88 Million to Fund Lean Product Development Pilot

April 062005
CINCINNATI  April 6, 2005 The University of Cincinnati and TechSolve announce that
they will jointly receive a $1,886,563 million grant from the Ohio Department of
Development's Third Frontier Project to lead a collaborative two-year pilot program to
improve product development for Ohio's small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs).

The UC/TechSolve pilot program, the Partnership for Lean Product Development and
Innovation, incorporates Lean Manufacturing methods and tools to create new products
and innovative ideas in less time, and with greater chance for success in the market.
The program will assist Ohio's SMEs whose products are as diverse as precision food
packing machinery, titanium jet engine components and industrial valves for water
treatment plants.

"The lifeblood of small manufacturers is their ability to introduce new, innovative
products and be first to market with them," said Gary N. Conley, president of TechSolve,
leading experts in Lean Manufacturing. "We're talking about significant benefits to Ohio
companies in increased revenue and profit, enhanced brand equity, long-term growth
and vitality."

"Innovation requires an ability to effectively integrate the product development process.
The Fortune 500 companies know how to do this. Our goal is to bring this approach to
small and medium size business in Ohio," said Craig M. Vogel, director of UC's Center
for Design, Research and Innovation (CDRI). Vogel is spearheading the University's role
in the Partnership.

For example, the precision food packing equipment maker, Planet Products of Blue Ash,
successfully created a machine with an innovative cleaning process, allowing its
customers to pack food products more efficiently. To stay ahead of its competition and
meet customer needs, Planet Products wants to leverage this innovation in new designs.
The program should help them with a timely process that results in reliable machines.

"In particular we plan to empower companies by giving them the ability to effectively
leverage design as a resource to optimize their core capability and create a clear
branding strategy," Vogel said.

Research by TechSolve and UC showed that manufacturers in the pilot expect to achieve
top line results such as: 25% increase in product success in the marketplace, 20%
increase in first-to-market innovation, 25% reduction in time-to-market and 50%
increase in revenue from new products.

The CDRI will provide a "high-touch, high-tech" Innovation Lab and physical resources
such as rapid prototyping, 2-D and 3-D scanners, video conferencing and more that
would otherwise be cost prohibitive for participating companies. TechSolve will provide
the Lean Innovation program framework and general oversight of the program.

The pilot will begin in May 2005, providing expertise to a select group of 11 Greater
Cincinnati area manufacturers that have demonstrated the desire and readiness to push
innovation boundaries. In the pilot's second year, 20 more manufacturers will enter the
Partnership. The first 11 companies include: Ferco Tech, General Tool Company, Hydro
Systems, Hydro Tech, Planet Products, Precision Industrial Automation, Ransohoff,
Richards Industries, Rotex, Setco and Xomox. One of the pilot program goals is to create
a self-sustaining program.

While TechSolve and UC are leading the effort, the Partnership includes a collaborative
support network of existing experts and resources -- product development thought
leaders, service providers, and leading practitioners from major corporations.

The "leading practitioners," manufacturers who are already highly innovative, include:
Alcoa, Boeing, GE Transportation Aircraft Engines, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Procter &
Gamble and UGS.

The "thought leaders," highly regarded individuals in the field of innovation and product
development, include: Doug Hall  Eureka! Ranch, Gene Kania  MC2 Solutions, Mark
Adkins - Turnkey Marketing, and Craig Vogel  University of Cincinnati.

The "service providers," local experts in various elements of product development,
include: AcuPOLL, ITE, LPK, Laser Reproductions, NineSigma, PIA Group.

The CDRI is an integral part of UC's top-ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and
Planning. As a university-wide initiative, it is also supported by UC's College of
Business, College of Engineering, College of Medicine, Office of the Senior Vice President
and the Provost, Office of Research & Advanced Studies, and the Office of
Entrepreneurial Affairs. It brings to the pilot top-rated teaching, industry partnerships
and relationships.

As an Ohio Edison Technology Center, TechSolve has delivered services to Ohio's SMEs
for over 20 years. TechSolve's Lean and Six Sigma process experts have completed
hundreds of successful Lean Manufacturing and Lean Office projects that have led to
significant proven returns on investment for clients.

Since its founding in 1819, UC has been the source of many discoveries creating positive
change for society, including co-op education, the oral polio vaccine, the first electronic
organ, the first safe anti-knock gasoline, and the first antihistamine. Currently, UC
receives a record-setting $320 million in annual research funding, highlighting an upward
trend that has transformed the university into a research powerhouse and placing it
among the most selective in the country. For instance, the university's research funding
has quadrupled in the past 20 years, and in terms of federal funding, UC places 25th
among U.S. public universities in National Science Foundation rankings. Regionally, UC
has outclassed all other universities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana in terms of patent
income over the most recent five-year period surveyed.

Cincinnati-based TechSolve implements Supplier Development, Lean Manufacturing and
Machining Process Solutions that help companies worldwide increase profits and
productivity on the factory floor and in the front office. More information is available on
the Internet at www.TechSolve.org.
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