Norbert Majerus, Goodyear

“We now develop products 70 percent faster”

In 2005 Porsche Consulting was commissioned to help the American tire specialist Goodyear develop a lean product development system. Norbert Majerus, Lean Transformation Director at Goodyear’s research and development department, still has a very clear image of the Porsche consultants’ analysis – it was spot on. “They told us we didn’t have a process we could optimize, but that we had as many processes as employees.” A decade later, however, that’s all history. “Today there is only one development process at Goodyear,” reports Majerus. And the success can be measured. “We produce three times as many innovations per developer as we used to. We now develop products 70 percent faster. Our quality, which was already high, improved significantly once again.”

Goodyear brings 1,500 new products onto the market every year. It is extremely important to keep enhancing tire performance all the time in order to stay out in front of the competition. “The improvements that we introduced back then had an immediate and significant effect on our business figures,” notes Majerus. “And that showed us what a big difference it makes when a product is actually there when you want it.” Originally that was the case for only 18 percent of developments. But Goodyear has long since exceeded its target figure of 90 percent. And the R&D department has prompted the introduction of lean processes elsewhere at Goodyear. “Other departments quickly noticed that suddenly most of the innovation projects were completed on time.” And what remains of the results that were achieved with Porsche Consulting? “Of course we have refined our processes over the years. But our mode of operation remains very close to what we put into place back then,” says Majerus. He also knows the reason for this ongoing success. “Porsche Consulting gave us methods that have enabled us to keep learning more over the years and to help ourselves.”