13 Apr Product Design And Development
In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) covers the complete process of bringing a new product to market, renewing an existing product or introducing a product in a new market. A central aspect of NPD is product design, along with various business considerations. New product development is described broadly as the transformation of a market opportunity into a product available for sale. The products developed by an organisation provide the means for it to generate income. For many technology-intensive firms their approach is based on exploiting technological innovation in a rapidly changing market.
The product can be tangible (something physical which one can touch) or intangible (like a services, experiences or beliefs), though sometimes services and other processes are distinguished from “products”. NPD requires an understanding of customer needs and wants, the competitive environment, and the nature of the market.Cost, time and quality are the main variables that drive customer needs. Aiming at these three variables, innovative companies develop continuous practices and strategies to better satisfy customer requirements and to increase their own market share by a regular development of new products. There are many uncertainties and challenges which companies must face throughout the process. The use of best practices and the elimination of barriers to communication are the main concerns for the management of the NPD
WHY IS PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT IMPORTANT?
Product development, is the life-blood of companies and societies. The product could be a physical product such as electronic products, automobile or smart phones. It could also be services such as new IT solution, new manufacturing process, or a new real estate marketing concept.
All successful product development actions provide the following
- New value for customers
- Improved society
- Continued existence of the company
- New Value for Customers
The first and most important reason for any new development is to provide new value to the customer. Without this, there is no reason for them to trade their money for the new device. However, if the product or service offers overwhelming value, then customers will flock to it.
This new and increasing value is what keeps companies growing. If there is no new value to offer customers, the firm wilts and eventually dies. If the value offered is not increasing, then the company is losing ground in the market as its competitors increase their value in the market.
- Improved Society
Many new products are simply an incremental improvement over the previous version with only some new features or slight faster performance. These products may sustain the company by offering enough new value to generate additional revenue, but they are hardly a boon to society.
There are certain instances where new products will improve society beyond just the immediate gratification of the consumer.
- Continued Existence and Growth of the Company
New products and services are the lifeblood of any company. Without them, the firm withers on the vine and either dies or is absorbed by another firm. Society is well-served by the continuance of these companies from the employment of the individuals who work there (who are also consumers), and the support for society at-large in the form of taxation and charitable giving.
Companies (and civilizations) have little choice but grow and improve if they want to move from survival to thriving. The new products and services created and provided by companies of all sizes provide the mechanism for this growth and improvement.
SEVEN STAGES OF NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
This is the concept and ideation stage during which a product’s functional and performance requirements can be defined along with buyer personas or ‘the voice of the customer’. Customer requirements and innovative functionality design ideas are floated and explored freely to find compelling potential solutions that answer an identified market need.
- Feasibility study and design planning
The feasibility phase gives management an opportunity to evaluate a project’s potential success, reviewing and refining the business case from various angles. During this phase, the project team reviews product design concepts. They then select the design that best fulfils the previously defined user requirements. Now, the detailed, exhaustive project requirements are assembled that will guide the design and development phase.
- Design and development
In this phase, formal engineering specifications are created. Verification and validation plans are developed for the future. These are the final quality checks that will systematically determine that all agreed deliverables are present and working in the end product. The product is then developed against the designs, with regular checks made throughout the process to assess and mitigate the risk of its failure for the end-user and the project itself.
- Testing & verification
Comprehensive testing of the final product takes place to evaluate the robustness of the design and its ability to meet customer and performance requirements. Verification takes place against the design requirements identified in stage 2.
- Validation & collateral production
Validation takes place against the customer needs that have been identified at the ideation stage. Collateral is finalized and prepared to support the manufacture and launch phase.
Plans, specs and other relevant documentation are transferred to manufacture for production, or software products and updates are released to customers. Marketing and launch plans are finalised and activated..
The new product becomes part of the company’s portfolio. Ongoing product management ensures the product is subject to continuous upgrades and improvement. CAPA processes are in place to feed into these actions.