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R & D management: An operational view

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1 Author(s)
Suran, Jerome J. ; Electronics Laboratory, General Electric Company, Syracuse, N. Y.

The author discusses two aspects of control which affect the most obvious outputs of a research and development laboratory. 1) Technical Control: A model of the technical control function is discussed. Also presented are discussions of the corporate-laboratory interface and a procedure for estimating the potential program cost for management. Internal control of the laboratory is also mentioned, including a PERT-type chart used for scheduling a small “best-efforts” laboratory program. Another aspect is the laboratory-product department interface, with a planning chart for iterative R & D programs. 2) Financial Control: (Defined as maintaining a balance between supporting input funds and billed costs within predetermined limits.) Two categories are discussed : 1) measurements, including financial control loop, with discussions of budgets, salaries, nonsalary costs, overhead, and backlog, and 2) management alternatives, which are control actions on proposal activity, applied salaries, total salaries, and expenses. The two control loops — technical and financial — are cross-coupled and interact strongly. The objective of both controls is to optimize laboratory performance in relation to cost.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:EM-12 ,  Issue: 1 )