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Product Innovation + Process Innovation = Success

About the Author

Dusty Cruise

Dusty J. Cruise

President & CEO
Missouri Enterprise

  • 30+ years of experience in a broad spectrum of manufacturing endeavors, holding positions including quality and engineering manager, sales and marketing director, operations manager, manufacturing engineer, production supervisor, senior process engineer, tool and process engineer, engineering draftsman and quality control inspector
  • Expertise in integrating material, labor and overhead improvements with overall operational efficiencies to achieve bottom-line growth
  • Former Missouri Quality Award Examiner
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management, Comprehensive, Missouri State University

Product Innovation + Process Innovation = Success

by Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise

Wikipedia defines innovation as "the implementation of a new or significantly improved idea, good, service, process or practice that is intended to be useful."

Consumers tend to focus on product innovation, the introduction of a new good or service that is substantially improved in functional and technical characteristics, ease of use or any other dimension -- a faster-acting pain remedy or a better-tasting soft drink with fewer calories, for example.

While new products do play an important part in American manufacturing, another type of innovation, process innovation, also offers a critical advantage for our country's manufacturing companies.

Process innovation, like product innovation, is based on creativity, but it focuses on the implementation of a new or significantly improved means of producing or delivering the product or service. It is process innovation that often enables a company to make products that meet or exceed customer expectations for quality, cost and speed of delivery.

Process innovation can mean rearranging equipment on a plant floor to reduce the time between one activity and another, or combining several related manufacturing activities into one physical location and storing the necessary parts closer to where they will be used.

Many companies succeed by developing new and improved products or by finding better ways to make those products. But the companies that truly achieve "World Class Manufacturing Status" combine both product innovation and process innovation.

Product innovation and process innovation are both necessary for a company to create a culture dedicated to continuous improvement and eliminate activities that are not of value to its customers. This kind of culture almost always guarantees success despite the effect of outside marketplace forces.

Missouri Enterprise is an organization composed of experienced manufacturing and management professionals. For nearly 30 years, it has helped manufacturing companies meet current challenges while transforming themselves to prepare for success in the next generation and beyond with manufacturing productivity improvements, ISO/quality management systems, and innovative business and growth strategies. It manages the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program in Missouri and one of the state's Innovation Centers. For more information, visit or call Harold Zinn at 314-434-6300, ext 1301.

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