Masterbuilt is a family-owned company in Georgia that develops and manufactures outdoor cooking equipment, including grills, smokers, fryers, and cookers.
Manufacturers face a new reality of needing to deliver products faster, at the right price, and to the right audience.
Masterbuilt recognized this rising business practice and realized their current Product Development Lifecycle (PDLC) process was not meeting their current needs and would not be able to support future needs. The paper-based process included four phases that involved more and more people as a product moved through the phases, causing time delays, cost increases, and difficulty tracking the progress of any given project.
Masterbuilt wanted to digitally transform their PDLC process to offer greater visibility between departments, enhance communication, and have a product repository. Goals for the project included: increase product innovation to market, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue.
RDA met with key Masterbuilt stakeholders to identify objectives required for project success and determined this project would be best implemented in phases.
The first phase focused on collecting data about the product and development workflows. RDA reviewed Masterbuilt’s paper-based forms process and replicated a digital workflow using a cloud-based SharePoint platform. Upon triggering the workflow process, forms and data moved to and from the various Product Development teams, which reviews the idea of a new product and decides if it would be a good fit for the company. The new system tracks the process’ metadata, so now the team can see the status of every project at any time.
The second phase addresses details like: the physical design, feasibility, structural integrity, challenges that may occur during construction, the cost to build, etc. With online access to this product information management is able to review each idea and approve great products to continue through the development process.
Phase three is when the new idea starts to show signs of being the next great Masterbuilt product. The information is gathered from the previous steps to form a product description, marketing collateral, a detailed bill of materials, a timeline with the manufacturer, and the product box design is collected from the graphics team. Certifications are obtained if required, and the final quote to build the product from the manufacturer is received before getting the approval to start construction.
Phase 4 begins with a completely new product description that the team is ready to guide through the production process. The team will need to validate the quality and function during this phase to make sure the product is deserving of the Masterbuilt name and that it will delight their customers.
Improvements have already been seen among employees as they can track progress more easily, hold each group accountable for their role in the development process, and can participate in the development process from anywhere without causing a delay when working remotely.
A single phase has been reduced to just a fraction of the original process timeline. Upon completion of all four phases of work, Masterbuilt expects its development process to be reduced by approximately a third, strengthening the company’s competitive advantage and reducing its development costs.