Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lean-Driven Innovation

Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, 1st Edition

By Norbert Majerus

Productivity Press

493 pages | 54 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781482259681
pub: 2015-08-13
Hardback: 9781138438132
pub: 2017-07-27
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pub: 2017-07-27
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In 2005, Goodyear’s research and development (R&D) engine was not performing up to its full potential. The R&D organization developed high-quality tires, but the projects were not always successful. Goodyear embarked on a major initiative to transform its innovation creation processes by learning, understanding, and applying lean product development principles. Within five years, Goodyear saw its product development cycle times slashed by 70 percent, on-time delivery performance rise close to 100 percent, and throughput improve three-fold – all achieved with no increase in the R&D budget.

Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company describes in great detail how the Goodyear team was able to achieve such significant improvements. Revealing the ups and downs of this successful transformation, the book shares experiences of how this seismic change was managed, how people were engaged, and how Goodyear dramatically reinvigorated its product development and innovation processes—and, in the process, delivered substantial more value to customers and to the company.

The book also explains how lean product development helped Goodyear dramatically improve revenue by having every new product available when the market needed it. Presenting wide-ranging perspectives from all levels of leadership, this book is ideal for anyone in R&D daring to take on a lean initiative in R&D or who is struggling with a lean transformation that is not delivering to its full potential. Since the book focuses on universal lean principles, it is as insightful to other manufacturing and nonmanufacturing disciplines in any industry as well.

The book presents invaluable insights gained by the author during his 36 years within Goodyear, of which 10 have been directly involved in trying to develop, implement, and sustain lean to achieve the company’s business objectives. It distills ideas, practices, failures, and successes into key principles that lean product development practitioners can easily implement.

After reading this book, you will gain a practical path for applying lean to the innovation processes of your organization, including where to begin and what to do, regardless of the industry and the status of your transformation.

Watch Norbert Majerus discuss Lean-Driven Innovation at: https://youtu.be/yIlJEMJIcyA


"Lean-Driven Innovation illustrates that the application of lean principles and practices entails more than simple cut and paste implementation of factory-floor practices to the complex knowledge work of engineering and innovation. Lean thinking applied to product and process development shares the basic principles of lean operations but goes about actualizing them in very different ways. In sharing the compelling story of applying lean principles to R&D processes in the large, global, complex enterprise that is Goodyear, Norbert Majerus offers a path for improving innovation processes that readers will find practical and applicable regardless of their business type or company size."

—John Shook, Chairman and CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute

"Lean-Driven Innovation provides a set of guiding principles for how to build an innovative organization that are based on science and hard-won experience. The principles are brought to life by great examples from Goodyear’s impressive lean transformation in R&D. This is a must-read for innovation leaders. Although based on a transformation in R&D, the thinking applies equally well to software development and other project-based knowledge work."

—Peter T. Ward, Director, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

"A candid and well-told story of the process by which a strong and innovative engineering culture incorporated the powerful principles of lean product development."

—Don Reinertsen, Author of The Principles of Product Development Flow

"Norbert’s work is a particularly impactful effort as it is not purely academic or theoretical, but rather based and vetted upon the years of hard-fought experiences and knowledge gained at Goodyear throughout its lean product development journey. Readers will undoubtedly gain insights into a number of promising continual improvement processes that may be applied at their companies for immediate and positive impact."

—Rich Gildersleeve, Chief Technology Officer, DJO LLC

"InLean-Driven Innovation, Norbert Majerus brings insight and understanding to how Goodyear successfully applied lean principles to its R&D processes, and he offers readers the know-how and encouragement to do the same. The book is especially effective at showing how Goodyear has been able to make its R&D capacity visible and manageable, repetitively surfacing and resolving constraint issues and regularly improving the innovation process. These principles will help non-manufacturing processes far beyond R&D as well, such as administration, services, and healthcare."

—Peg Pennington, Executive Director, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

"Norbert Majerus is a remarkable engineer and an extraordinary storyteller. This book tells the story of how he and his colleagues have taken their understanding of the basics of lean and applied it to the difficult task of product development. He is one of the few people I know who has so completely absorbed the concepts of the book, Factory Physics, that he has been able to apply them in a completely new environment—product innovation."

—Mark L. Spearman, Co-author of Factory Physics and Former Department Head, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University

"When I first got to know Norbert Majerus at an LPPDE conference some years ago, I felt he was a remarkable man. He was sure of his deep knowledge, but he also was very interested in learning more, a lot more. This is a sign of a true lean practitioner. In Lean-Driven Innovation, Norbert shares some of his deep knowledge with us, and puts it in place with clear principles and real examples. He shows that focusing on true customer value — instead of the traditional focus on R&D cost — really pays off, and that building new value streams is the true objective for a product development organization. I love the last chapter Lean Never Ends, showing that the journey has just begun!"

—Peter Palmer, Senior Manager Process Support, Scania, and Board Member of LPPDE

Table of Contents

Goodyear Today: Lean Product Development

Goodyear Results from Lean Product Development

Lean R&D Helps Develop Profitable Value Streams

This Lean "Stuff" Really Works

Goodyear’s Brief History of Lean Product Development

Lean Is a Lot of Work

Lean Principles


Success to Survival to a Foundation for Lean

The Golden Age of Tire Technology

Early Building Blocks for Lean

Use of Product and Process Standards

Knowledge Management Office

New Business Objectives


The Beginning of a Lean Process

The First Kaikaku—Eroding Profits at Goodyear

Change Management

Changes for the Worse

Policemen, Ambulances, and the Downward Spiral

Outside Help Does not Help Out Enough

Matrix and Project Management

Lean Firsts at Goodyear


Finding and Removing Waste from Product Development

Focus on the Customer

What Do Customers Value?

Value and Waste

Muda, Muri, and Mura

Waste Removal Gets Underway at Goodyear


Making New-Product Value Flow

Break Down Large Projects into Quick Learning Cycles

Early Attempts at Visual Planning

Finding Our Bottleneck—Herbie Meets Herbie

The Kaikaku We Needed

Exploring Pull and Flow Concepts

The Turning Point

Fast is Better than Slow

Create a Kaikaku

Pit Crew Tries to Accelerate Speed


Lean and Innovation

Dispelling Lean Innovation Myths

Discovery of Lean Tools in the Innovation Creation Process

It Takes More than One Process

Create Capacity and Resources for Innovation

Funding the Innovation Space

Innovation Talent and Serial Innovators

Add Room for Failure to the Innovation Space

Standardizing Innovation

Managing Incoming Work

Manage Work Entering the Product Creation Process

Cost of Delay (COD)

Goodyear COD Calculation

Creating Customer Value and Profits

Lean Innovation Killers

More Innovation than Ever Before

Goodyear Innovation Awards


Operating the Lean Product Development Factory

From Lean Initiative to Lean Function

Get the Process Right and Results Will Follow

Lean Support—Accounting for Value

Responsibility for Quality

The End of the Herbie Story—Managing Purpose, Process, and People

Lean Purpose

Lean Process

Lean People

Improve R&D Efficiency—It Is OK to be Selfish

Lean Expectations and Endurance


Lean Never Ends

Lean Courage

Get Started



About the Author

Beginning in 2005, Norbert Majerus has implemented a principles-based lean product development process at the three global innovation centers of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, first in Akron, Ohio, and then in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, and Hanau, Germany. For nearly a decade, he has been Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.

Mr. Majerus, born and raised in Luxembourg, began his career at Goodyear in 1979 with responsibility for materials development, aircraft tires, and competitor benchmarking. In 1983, he moved to Akron to start a "short assignment" in innovative products, which continues to this day. During that time, he was a recipient of discretionary funding for a revolutionary new product and manufacturing process, and he earned more than 60 patents and trade secrets (patentable ideas that the company chose not to patent).

Further assignments in Akron have included innovative processes; new tire development and project manager for North American, Asian, and European OEM customers; corporate benchmarking; design and test standards; activity-based R&D accounting; ISO/QS certification; and more.

Majerus acquired a six sigma master black belt in 2003 and a lean master black belt in 2005. He holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries