In 2009, Mazda Motor Corporation was eager to develop an engine that would be competitive enough to compete against the increasingly popular hybrids. Mazda’s top executives gave the order to develop its own ECO-car by 2011. The typical development cycle for a new car like this at Mazda was four years. Therefore, Mazda’s development team needed to cut its development cycle time in half, from 4 years to 2 years. This was quite challenge for Mazda.
Mazda realized that they needed to optimize their development process in order to meet the aggressive cycle time reduction objectives. The development cycle for a new car is largely driven by the time it takes to develop the new drive train. As it turned out, they had already been investigating BeingManagement3 and the software’s use of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM). Mazda’s drive-train division with some promising early results and so, the decision was made to implement use BeingManagement3 for this core part of the program. The first thing they did was to create a detailed project network showing the interrelationship between all the tasks across all the departments that needed to be orchestrated in order to complete the development in half the time. It was much easier to identify opportunities to reduce cycle time with this integrated view of the development process. The network was then published in BeingManagement3 so that all the team members were able to view the entire project as well as the relationship between their roles and that of the rest of the team. This type of integrated perspective was new to the team. They then instituted a weekly director level multi-function project review meeting driven primarily by the CCPM execution methodology. Immediately, the level of collaboration between the different departments increased as people came together to focus on meeting the aggressive development timeline.
As a result, the team was able to eliminate unnecessary processes between departments and instead, proactively collaborated to meet the aggressive development schedule. The result of this effort is the release of Mazda’s new line of Eco-cars, based on the Skyactive Engine Platform that hit the market in 2011.