Cross-functional team dynamics require leaders who can be transformational in their ability to communicate compelling missions, goals and objectives for the teams, not just managing by action item lists and project plans (Santa, Ferrer, Bretherton, Hyland, 2010).
The best cross-functional teams then have a level of passionate intensity about them; they see the much greater result they are attempting to accomplish as worth the sacrifices they need to attain them (Feng, Jiang, Fan, Fu, 2010). Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the area of new product development and introduction (NPDI), especially in high tech manufacturing where product lifecycles are so rapid (Boks, Stevels, 2007). In the leading high tech companies including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and others, sustainability engineering, product development engineering, packaging, repackaging and remanufacturing all have their experts on cross-functional teams to share their expertise and insight to make sustainability initiatives accomplishable through better use of internal knowledge (Albino, Balice, Dangelico, 2009). Cross-functional teams are the foundation that makes the NPDI process attainable (Boks, Stevels, 2007). It would literally not be possible to launch a new product, complete a given product or service strategy, create and sustain new distribution channels, or attain a level of performance on DfE product designs without cross-functional teams. Insights and intelligence, expertise and experience, when applied with an intensity of focus on a given goal, are what make manufacturers successful with their new product development cycles. Table 1 provides an overview of the DfE Benefits and Impact Analysis including the anticipated environmental impact and corresponding cost reduction opportunities are as well.
Table 1: DfE Benefits and Impact Analysis
DfE Engineering & Product Development Goal
Anticipated Environment Impact
Reduction in Costs Possible
Reduction in overall footprint of the printer (at HP) or device including product weight
Reduces lifetime energy consumption; less end-of-life waste
Significant reduction in sourcing and quality management costs; lower logistics costs; potential for higher production yields
Energy STAR compliance
Significant reduction in energy use; less greenhouse gases, reduction in carbon dioxide generation
Significant cost reductions in end-user product lifecycle operating expenses
Engineer in greater product reliability and quality
Less material costs, less waste for landfills due to better reverse logistics of product components
Lower Total Cost of Ownership; lower lifetime product costs
Packaging design biodegradability and reverse logistics
Reduce the impact of high tech products have on landfills
Using reverse logistics processes rely on outbound packaging materials as part of delivered product; also return of consumables using packaging
Optimizing Bulk Pack Configurations
Minimize carbon-based impact of transportation
Significant reduction in materials and logistics costs
Design for Recycling (DfR)
Reduction of per unit costs due to reuse of components
Lower compliance costs through designed-in use of materials; lower overall manufacturing costs
Design for Disassembly (DfD)
Higher recycle rates due to more intuitive disassembly and recycle designs
Reduce recycling costs; design supports reverse logistics process of re-using packaging
High tech manufacturers clearly have much to gain from adopting DfE-based criteria in the development, production, service and recycling of their products. The reduction in costs possible impact each area of a company's supply chain, from initial sourcing and supplier coordination to lowering production costs by being able to attain higher levels of product quality. DfE's many benefits are so compelling that Hewlett-Packard today invests an average of $60M in supply chain planning for new products to attain these goals (Chang, Chen, Lin, Tien, Sheu, 2006). The returns on that investments are so significant for Hewlett-Packard that they also lead the high tech industry with the largest percentage reduction in their carbon footprint as well (Boks, Stevels, 2007). High tech manufacturers have organizational cultures that are highly focused on metrics of performance, especially in the areas of innovation, new product development, and compliance to environmental requirements (Markley, Davis, 2007). As a result of the HP culture being one that concentrates on measuring performance, the impact of cross-functional teams on their compliance to WEE, RoHS and other global environmental compliance requirements is considered among the best in the world (Varmazis, 2006). HP also evaluates each supplier as to their level of contributions to compliance to the sustainability and e-waste initiative goals and objectives the company sets every year (Varmazis, 2006). These scorecards are used for evaluating the level of compliance to supplier quality levels that HP's cross-functional teams set to ensure the highest levels of quality are attained in HP products and services. HP relies on cross-functional teams to create, evaluate, enforce and help suppliers attain the levels of performance necessary to keep quality levels as high as possible. HP, like many high tech manufacturers, have found that to the extent to which DfE design goals are achieved in their product designs is the extent to which they can reap the financial benefits of being in compliance. As Table 1 shows, the ability of any manufacturer to attain the benefits reduction in costs requires intensive reliance on all the knowledge and intelligence in an organization -- in short how effective they are in using cross-functional teams to make the DfE process as engrained into their PLM and new product development processes.
The role of cross-functional teams as a knowledge catalyst is unassailable and proven when the results of reverse logistics and DfE programs are assessed in manufacturing industries, the most significant results achieved in high tech manufacturing. Cross-functional teams are the catalysts of expertise, experience, insights and intelligence that companies need to make their new product development, supply chain and services strategies pay. Compliance to WEEE, RoHS and other global compliance standards (Kunert, 2005) is often seen as a cost, yet forward-thinking companies including HP see these standards as a way to increase their competitive strength in product design, services and supply chain performance. HP is making compliance pay with cross-functional teams that deliver the needed knowledge to make them successful. Without cross-function team's contributions, the benefits of reverse logistics and DfE would not be attainable. Managing cross-functional teams to results in sustainability and e-waste strategies requires transformational leadership and the ability to manage and resolve the conflicts that arise from the role conflict inherent in this approach (Dayan, Basarir, 2010). Yet for all the conflict of having experts on a cross-functional team with two different and often conflicting roles and sets of responsibilities, the results attained are worth it (Markley, Davis, 2007) as shown by the result achieved in reverse logistics and DfE results attained (Mascle, Zhao, 2008).
Creating cross-functional teams to manage e-waste programs is an emerging area of best practices in high tech manufacturing that HP is pioneering with impressive results (Varmazis, 2006). Assessing the impact of cross-functional teams in strengthening e-waste programs that encompass reverse logistics and DfE initiatives the following recommendations are offered. First, concentrate on the supply chain partnerships and relationships, defining standards of e-waste management and process controls to ensure components and assemblies are in line with increasingly higher standards of sustainability and compliance to global standards. These standards will be used throughout the product development process to ensure compliance to DfE standards as well. Second, define the supplier quality management audit standards and enforce them through supplier audits. Third, start creating a cross-functional team initially of the supplier quality management, engineering, finance, accounting, services, product management and marketing teams. This cross-functional team will be focused on managing the supplier-to-fulfillment processes inside manufacturing to ensure compliance to e-waste programs. Each of these functional areas have an impact on the level of production needed to meet demand, how much demand is created through marketing, and the services costs associated with them as well. Fourth, the corss-functional team needs to define its objectives for supply chain management and adherence to supplier audit criteria, in addition to defining how DfE objectives will be attained. This can be a time-consuming process and often is iterative in nature. Having the cross-functional team define these areas however gives them ownership of the process and leads to greater levels of success as a result. Fifth, have the cross-functional team define a balance scorecard to measure its performance over time. Have them also define the metrics that will be used on the balance scorecard as well. Once completed, post to the company Intranet site and have the data fed to the scorecard in real-time if possible. Sixth, have the cross-functional team concentrate on the PLM cycles and the new product development projects underway to infuse DfE design objectives into them while also coordinating with suppliers to ensure compliance. Seventh, have regular design and supplier audit meetings with the cross-functional teams to see if the compliance objectives for e-waste are being achieved. Eighth, concentrate on the measures of DfE compliance attained using real-time data feeds to accompol8ish this. This data set will be the "compass" that will guide the development of the DfE strategies over time throughout the PLM processes and systems over time. Ninth, create pro forma financial statements to measure monetarily the value of the…