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The ‘Right the First Time’ Principle

No engineer plans to make a wrong decision.

Product development, however, is a highly constrained endeavor. Products must be designed on a specific schedule. Engineers have to take company-wide considerations into account. Products are only getting more complex in terms of mechatronics. It’s surprising that more mistakes aren’t made when designing products. To counter all of these issues and more, some engineering organizations are undergoing explicit efforts to make design decisions right the first time.

Defining the Right the First Time Principle

The goal behind the Right the First Time principle is to minimize the number of product issues that get past design release to cause rework, scrap, change orders and leads to displeased customers. To do so, the Right the First Time principle encompasses practices that allow engineers to perform more due diligence and validation of their design decisions. This includes digitally and physically prototyping designs in faster and more iterative cycles.

Challenges addressed by the Right the First Time Principle

Unlike the other initiatives covered in this chapter, the Right the First Time principle addresses a single trend challenge from Chapter One. However, this principle can have a larger impact on the throughput of the engineering organization than any other initiative.

Table 5: Challenges addressed by the Right the First Time Principle

Trend

Challenge Addressed

Advantage Provided

The Increasing Volatility of Engineering WorkEngineering managers must find a way to minimize disruptive design rework.By enabling more due diligence and validation of design decisions before design release, the amount of design rework for the engineering organization shrinks. That, in turn, minimizes the number of disruptive fire drills for engineers.

Steps to pursue the Right the First Time Principle

  • To implement the Right the First Time principle, time must be earmarked in the schedule to accommodate an engineer’s due diligence and validation of his or her decisions, whether using digital prototyping, physical prototyping or accessing the right information. In some cases, procedures may need to be developed to verify those decisions.