The Savvy Consortium Presents

Product Development and Product Engineering Conference XXIII

Agile, Innovative, Lean, Visual, Collaborative

September 14-15, 2017, Minneapolis, MN

Savvy engineering managers present their experiences adapting the practices and managing the development teams and engineers to continually advance science, technology and high performance processes. The engineering managers presenters will include and demonstrate their experiments and valuable tools you can use to continually build the talent of your engineers, meet your new products timelines, and improve work satisfaction: yours and your colleagues.

Strategic Panel: This is a new knowledge generating activity designed to introduce you to the opportunities for building the talent of your product development people. Diverse talent is the focus of this panel.

Benchmarking Session: Move to the next improved state of standard NPI work.  Savvy Consortium members, facilitated by Todd Stute, engage you in ‘deep learning’ benchmarking.  This facilitated activity focuses on the select critical practices that you have in common NPI people (see the topics below). 

Savvy Conference Speakers will describe their: Design reviews, learning cycles, knowledge handoffs, risk mitigations, standard work, flow and schedule, cadence and collaboration. Agile practices, visual management, collaboration practices, NPI process improvement challenges. PDCA, Lamda, Six Sigma, OODA, House of Quality, knowledge gaps, Kanban.

Register now to receive the booklet “Standard Work of the Product Development Engineering Manager” just published.

Thursday, September 14

8:30 a.m.
Conference Keynote Address: The Importance of Culture in Innovation Strategy
  • Sheila C. Peyraud
  • Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
  • Corporate Technology
  • The Donaldson Company
9:30 a.m.
Clean Install a Flexible ‘Agile’ Process on High Profile Program with High Talent Team
  • Ken Bonenberger
  • Senior Engineering Manager
  • Steris – US Endoscopy
Agile processes such as the Scale system and comparable processes are complex. Ken Bonenberger is adapting the agile process in a simple, understandable way making the process learning cycles pay off with high day to day productivity on the product design and development. Ken will describe his experiences using cadences, visual methods and practices on a Steris ‘high profile’ life science product and service development project. Ken will show how the team adapts essential agile and lean practices to the front end of this project. He will show results from experiments with agile events, prototype deliverables and work board visuals to meet project schedules.

11:00 a.m.
Transfer Your Critical Science and Engineering Knowledge Before Your Experts Retire
  • Barbara Stamatis
  • Manager
  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
The aging work force: retirements and lost critical technical knowledge. Barbara Stamatis will present her experiences, practices and tools collaborating with her colleagues to enable an efficient, comprehensive transfer of critical knowledge. Barbara will discuss the delicate challenges and ways to enable solutions working with people of high talent and real contributions to the economic success of their firm. She will sketch out several of the visual tools that enable the expert and the novice to collaborate in the critical knowledge transfer.


1:00 p.m.
Prime Challenge: Understanding the Customer Problem
  • Stephanie Westphal
  • Director of New Product Development
  • Tennant Corporation
Understanding customer needs/problems is important to understand what value means to the customer. Stephanie Westphal will show how this is the prime task developing concepts for stage 1 of the Tennant NPI process. She will demonstrate her experiences making development projects flow downstream from this important first step. She will show how her teams overcome the typical problems to make their deadlines: customer interests that change during the project timeline, decisions not made promptly, and team members having unplanned work.

3:00 p.m.
Strategic Topic Panel: Diverse Talent Enables Collaboration on NPI Teams
  • Strategic Learning Panelists: Savvy Engineering Managers

  • Panel Facilitator:
  • Angela Hendershott
  • Executive Director, Industrial Design Engineering
  • Deluxe Corporation
  • Research Contributor: TBA
Many NPI teams currently comprise people of diverse ethnicity, culture, and gender. This diversity enables critical learning from different points of view: wide understanding of customer wants/needs, technology options, creative design engineering contributions. And, the all-important ‘personal work satisfaction.’ Women engineers, though typically fewer in number on NPI development team members, nevertheless contribute to the success of their teams and to their work satisfaction.

Friday, September 15

8:30 a.m.
Differentiate at The Fuzzy Front
  • Chris Von Dohlen
  • Manager - Strategic Design
  • Target Corporation
Do you know what you need to know to differentiate your products in the market place? Do you see and know the critical knowledge   necessary for the "fuzzy front end” of projects?  Chris Von Dohlen will present the critical ‘fuzzy front end’ knowledge used by the large companies that drive product and market differentiation strategy. Chris will describe the knowledge needed for your initiatives to drive them to success:  patterns, trends and knowledge gaps. He will describe his experiences ‘upping the periscope’ to identify opportunities, analyze the trends and see the risks to avoid.

9:30 a.m.
Augmented Reality – 3D enables Product Learning, Training, and Critical Knowledge Transfer
  • Ron Cozad
  • VR System Developer
  • The Toro Company (ret)
  • Savvy Consortium Member
Critical Technical Knowledge transfer is the key to waste free knowledge flow from the design engineers to many technical people. The knowledge flow from design engineers to manufacturing engineers; to product/assembly people; to field service people; to product marketing people; to repair and replace service people; to work instruction people. The VR system Ron Cozad has developed with design engineers at the hub of the critical knowledge wheel’s spokes is a system that improves productivity and reduces waste. Ron will demonstrate his VR system, BOM components, and costs to conference attendees.

10:45 a.m.
Integrating Software Design into Mechanical Product Development
  • Jeff Meyer
  • Systems Engineering
  • Senior Engineering Manager
  • The Toro Company

The intersection of software development and product engineering development can build a strong competitive advantage in new product performance. Jeff Meyers will describe his experiences starting up a software design process and Toro. He will describe his practices building software talented people. He will describe the process and people ‘constraints’ and ‘enablers.’ Collaborating with Toro’s mechanical design people and talent, Jeff’s software developers have improved the quality, safety and productivity of Toro’s commercial products. These improvements result in high levels of customer satisfaction for the ‘smart’ product design the market expects from Toro.

11:30 a.m.
The Savvy Practices: Wellspring of NPP Continuous Improvement
  • Todd Stute
  • Director of Global Process Improvement
  • Western Digital Corporation
Todd Stute will show and describe how to learn and adapt best practices, starting with people and process challenges that need improvement. Todd will demonstrate ‘savvy learning cycles’ engineering managers use to move up the experience curve quickly and successfully. He will assemble interested people in piloting an initiative.


1:00 p.m.
Savvy Benchmark Session
  • Todd Stute
  • Director of Global Process Improvement
  • Western Digital Corporation
Design and Facilitated by Todd Stute. Savvy Conference participants will benchmark each other’s product development practices. Starting with the discussion of the problem are, Todd Stute will direct the focus on how they experiment with tools, processes, and adapt improvements to surmount common problems. You will hear/see the metrics, solutions and tools used at various levels of operations: team processes, functional engineering, support functions and tools. A3, PDCA, Lamda, Six Sigma, scrum boards, change management practices, et. al. Topics Include: 1. Insufficient Knowledge of Customer Expectations 2. Excessive Workloads 3. Learning Cycles Yielding Little Value 4. Risks: Technical and Schedule 5. Invisible Challenges: Make Them Visual 6. Vertical Communication/ Executive Collaboration

4:45 p.m.


Design engineering managers, department heads, chief engineers, functional department engineers, product engineers/marketers, directors of product engineering, change management pilot leaders, product test engineering managers, process improvement managers, product engineering development team members and leaders, and all who are responsible for improving product innovation, product development and process improvement in their product engineering operations. The conference is not open to academics, consultants, authors or gurus.

Over 800 people have participated in Savvy conferences and learning events. They are design engineers, systems engineers, technical and scientific people; product development teams leaders, knowledge specialists, engineering departments heads, engineering support group leaders, continuous improvement managers, process excellence managers, talent build managers, knowledge system managers, and others whose mission is people development, process improvement and productivity increase.

Firms attending Savvy Sponsored Product Development Knowledge Events the partial list of firms below:

Toro, Eaton, Timken, Dana, Sauder, Medtronic, McDonalds, General Mills, TSI, Goodyear, Cooper, Amano Pioneer, Diebold, John Deere, Pella, Genie, Pella, Schram, Cabot, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Nexen, Masonite, Steris/US Endoscopy, Inovonics, UTAS Aerospace, Wil-burt, Cabot Electronics, Cooper, CNH, GE Medical, Crown, Keithley, Knowles, Parker, Actuant, Deluxe, Tennant, Henny Penny, 3M, Shram, Diamond, Emerson, Terex, Ditch Witch, Waterous, HGST, RT technologies, Altec, Toyota, Saris, Andersen, Wet Design, Sub Zero, Harley Davidson, Autobag, CA Companies, Beckman Coulter, Donaldson, Seagate and participants from many other manufacturers that are implementing continuous improvement in their product design engineering organizations.


Savvy Conference XXIII
Venue: Minneapolis, MN

Plan for you / your colleagues to participate Savvy Conference XXIII. 20% Discount offered to groups of three or more from the same company.