In recent years, product development processes have become increasingly more effective and efficient for a number of reasons. Better technology, increased global competition and a more sophisticated understanding of the synergistic relationship of supply chain processes have all contributed to a more agile and responsive understanding of interrelated product development processes.
Organizations that have made the most of today’s modern understanding of “lean framework” applications generally follow an 8 stage process when addressing the challenges of successful product development. Supply chain managers and project managers can increase the effectiveness of product development and improve ROI through careful application of these 8 keys to product development.
Keys to Product Development: 8 Product Development Stages
1. Idea Generation
Organizations can get their ideas from a variety of sources. From studying market research data to hiring consultants, great ideas can come from inside or outside the organization. Narrowing down the idea, fully articulating it and moving it forward in the process takes time and ingenuity.
2. Idea Screening
Taking into account competitors’ existing products or services, potential costs and production feasibility are all important parts of deciding which ideas move forward in the screening process. Consulting with experts, examining possible supply chain costs and accessing market data are all important aspects to consider before moving on to the next step.
3. Concept Development and Testing
Before proceeding any further, it is important to be sure that the proposed project meets a real consumer need. Based on market data and potential consumer feedback, the idea may be adjusted.
4. Marketing Strategy and Development
Getting a new product or service into the hands of a targeted audience takes skill and knowledge. Using metrics, focus groups, beta testing and other methods can save the company money even if the product does not get developed. Often a good idea will lead to other ideas that are then developed. All knowledge is useful when it comes to analyzing how closely a product or service meets a growing demand.
5. Business Analysis
Determining long term costs that go into a product is another important part of a sound product development strategy. Determining the lifecycle of the product, the cost of help desk or customer support services, as well as what the ROI will be over time can help companies decide on which ideas to bring into fruition.
6. Product Development
Prototypes help companies troubleshoot supply chain issues, address possible design challenges and respond to client needs on a small scale. Creating strong prototypes makes the final products more successful.
7. Test Marketing
During the test marketing phase, the product has limited release so that any adjustments can be made before the product is introduced on a large scale. At this point, adjustments can be made to make the product more attractive to a wider range of customers.
Deciding how to best roll out the product on a large scale and securing all the details related to transportation, market selection and advertising are all part of the final process of commercialization. Collecting data at this step can help refine production and target marketing dollars while increasing customer satisfaction.
Successfully developing a new product is a complex task. Better understanding the 8 steps of product development can assist designers and developers in meeting the needs of their target clientele. Developing products that are highly desirable by a large audience takes a great deal of strategy and careful execution. While many successful organizations can make the process appear effortless, hitting the market at the right time with an outstanding product that resonates well with customers is most often the result of a detailed product development plan.