New online course helps companies optimize innovative potential

Posted: July 27, 2023

A new online course from The Ohio State University College of Engineering will teach professionals how to bring product ideas to life with speed, efficiency, minimum waste and maximum quality.

The new Lean Product Development online course begins August 23, 2023, and is designed for anyone involved in product and process development. The 14-week non-credit course is ideal for design and development engineers, product planners and designers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

Frank Paluch (headshot)

Developed and taught by College of Engineering alumni Frank Paluch, retired executive vice president of Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, and Lara Harrington, retired chief engineer of Honda R&D Americas, LLC, the course will introduce students to the broader principles of product development that successful companies implement with a 4PK system.

4PK is a set of principles needed to execute lean product and process development, according to Paluch, starting with “Product, the Process to develop with your People all seeking continual Perfection through Knowledge accumulation.” It distills the complexity inside the “black box” of development into five simple, easy to remember principles, methods and tools to create the culture to execute lean product and process development.

“A 4PK system allows companies to continually make great products by organizing people and processes to continually pursue perfection with knowledge management to ensure sustainable success,” said Paluch. “Lean Product Development students will be encouraged to journal and apply the lessons, tools, methods and initiatives to their own working environments in real time.”   

Lara Harrington portrait

A lean product-process development framework leverages a deep understanding of how the work gets done to help identify key interdependencies to effectively integrate work across functions and achieve an exceptional degree of concurrency. The result, as demonstrated by industry giants such as Toyota, Ford and Honda, is a development flow with decreased time-to-market, reduced waste, lower costs and enhanced product quality.

“In the past, workers entering the job market were taught on the job by experienced mentors that guided them through the process of product development,” said Paluch. “In today’s remote working environment, it is harder to get that type of guidance, but it’s crucial to be prepared and knowledgeable about how the product development process occurs, and what is necessary for success.” 

Ohio State’s Lean Product Development course provides essential strategies and key tools for reframing the standard waterfall development flow into a lean product-process development model, while providing students with the flexibility and convenience of an online course.

“We know that these individuals working in product and process development are busy creating the future through the products they launch, and they don’t always have the time to go to an in-person class,” said Harrington. “An online format allows access and convenience for study to be done anywhere according to the times available to the busy professional or student.”

The online course is delivered asynchronously and includes recorded instructor videos, guest lectures from industry leaders and additional coursework. Registration ends on August 18, 2023.

To learn more about the course, visit the Professional and Distance Education Programs website.

About the instructors

Paluch (BS ’86, aerospace engineering) spent 36 years in the aerospace and automotive industry during which he served as executive vice president of Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, LLC, and president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. He was responsible for the complete product creation of Honda and Acura automobiles and light trucks, as well as Honda powersports and power equipment products, for North American and global markets. Before joining Honda, he was a lead project engineer for McDonnell Douglas Corporation’s aircraft modification programs throughout the United States and in Italy, Portugal, England and Thailand. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering in 2015.

Harrington (BS ’90, aeronautical and astronautical engineering), worked in the automotive and aerospace industry for more than 30 years. Formerly the chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc., she held engineering leadership and program management positions contributing to the 1997 Acura CL, 1998 Honda Accord Coupe, 2001 Acura MDX and 2003 Honda Pilot, Honda’s first full-size SUV to enter the U.S. market. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry” by Automotive News. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering in 2016.

Modified version of original article written by Lindsey Wesley, Professional & Distance Education Program

Categories: CollegeAlumni
Tag: online