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

  • April 06, 2005
  • News
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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