Updated
  
30
 
Nov
 
2020
Published
 
5
 
Sep
 
2014

Product development insight

Product research and development is important to every innovative company. We identify the required strategy and steps.
This insight was prepared by our company DegreeSign. We help clients do custom research and development. Click "Get Started Now" to fill in project start form.
Developing solar panels

The success of a company’s product development needs a lot of resources and a good amount of research before launching the product. It is imperative for the company to know the importance of the product development journey. The continuity of the company heavily relies on the product’s quality.

A product development plan decides how the customer will experience the product. From the day of idea generation to the final product, the company keeps in mind how the product will fit with the customer. A ready to use the product will provide the product developer with end-user experience, benefits, feedback and suggestions. The developer uses all of these to fix problems and make the final product better and more marketable.

Various new technologies and methods, such as online automated feedback systems, have been developed to help identify and evaluate how the customer experiences the product. The company uses these methods to identify and rectify problems in the products. After this, they correct the problems to create a better product.

Every step in the product development journey is of vital importance, from ideation all the way to the final product. Customer feedback, statistical data research and market insights should all be taken into account in the entire product journey.

Product analysis and improvement is a continuous process. Implementation of business analytics and monitoring gives insight on the important points left out at the planning stage and provides tips for designers. Customer behaviour, product performance, immediate consumer demand and innovation are a few key aspects of product modification or new product development.

When the company receives feedback and analytics on a product already on the market. They can use that information to develop a totally new product. Sometimes the developer may find that the needs of the customers have changed and the old product does not satisfy their needs. The developer needs to get that information, compare it to current market trends and come up with a new product. This will help them stay in business and be competitive by using great product ideas.

In the end, the will have to ensure their continued existence. Key points to consider when analysing product development journey to make a better product:

  • While analysing product performance, the company must measure product outcomes and future consumer needs.
  • To better analyse the effectiveness of your product performance, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be combined within the business and management of the product development journey.
  • To get the expected results, the company must employ a product manager, who oversees the process and sees the future opportunities of the product.
  • Project Management is key in the overall execution and success of any product.
    The strategic decision and project execution should run at the same speed. It must be like the wheels of a vehicle if exponential growth is to be realised.

For any company to be able to stay relevant and stay competitive, they must pay close attention to the product development journey. Here the developer will find all the information required to better their product or create a new product that satisfies the needs of their customer. And as long as consumers are satisfied, their continued existence is guaranteed.

Developing solar panels

Development benefits

Products development can transform ideas into tangible new products, adding value and revenue to the business. New products increase your company resilience. Utilise available resources to develop safely, efficiently, and reliably. Envisioning a product that will satisfy the needs of the target market is a vital aspect of product design. If envisioning is done right, the product design takes into consideration what the customer thinks and feels.

Envisioning can be defined as an activity that grasps the true nature of a potential product. It involves coming up with a simple plan on how the idea will be brought to life. It is important for the company to have a good vision of feasible ideas they intend to create. The company needs to know exactly what they are going to make.

Kano model

In 1984 the Kano model was developed by Noriaki Kano, a professor of quality management at the Tokyo University of Science. It was developed to tell the likelihood of customer satisfaction with product features. The model comprises of three different functionalities: basics, performance and delighters.

Basic functions are the standard components that are a must to sell the product. The basics are the features the product cannot do without. The downside of the basic functions is that the more the product has the less interest from the customer. Performance functions are the features that are added to the product to increase the satisfaction of the customer in the product. Customers love performance functions. unlike basic functions, the more performance functions, the better.

A good product should not only have performance functions but should also have delighters. Delighters are functions that excite and delight, as the name suggests, the target customer. The goal of delighters is to satisfy needs the customer did not even know they had. Delighters give the product it is special selling points and, in turn, a competitive advantage in the market. Feasible product ideas rely on a good combination of basic, performance and delighter functionality. The designer must envision a mix of these in a manner that will increase the required benefits.

Impact and mapping

Impact and product mapping apart is something else the developer has to envision in order to bring an idea to life in product development. Product mapping is the process of matching or comparing your product to your competitors’ so that the developer can have precise comparisons with like products. This process helps the developer to have a better understanding of the products and implement data-driven interventions to improve the idea.

Impact mapping, on the other hand, is visual mapping ways or product development. Impact mapping helps to make better plans and roadmaps that ensure alignment of business and delivery, and help organisations make an impact with their product. The developer has to visualise the product in line with the company's objectives while keeping in mind the relation of the product to the customer.

As the developer is coming up with ideas for a possible product to be manufactured. The developer needs to envision a lot about the product to make sure it turns out to be a success. They must envision how to bring an idea to life. They need to make sure the idea is feasible and that the end product will satisfy the needs of the end-user and be marketable.

Business benefit

Companies making new products create new wealth for themselves. The main key is to address a market need. Product development is easy to understand. It can be simply put as the process of turning feasible product ideas into a marketable product. It begins with coming up with an idea. The best ideas are those that address the needs of the customers. To get that product manufactured from the idea stage takes some time, as it has to go through a number of processes.

The product idea is first selected from a number of possible ideas. Then from there, it is made into a product prototype model. The model is used to get feedback from the target market before the final product is made. The product prototype can also be used to create hype around the product before it is actually launched. From here, the feasibility of a product is analysed and then it goes into production until it finally gets manufactured.

The success of a product usually requires a lot of resources, and the chance of poor results or failure are very high. Due to the high-level risk of failure, it is vital to understand why product development is important to developers and society. Product development is the essence of many companies. A product being developed could be anything from something physical like electric devices, to services such as IT solutions, manufacturing processes or new marketing concepts.

Improved society

The first and most vital reason for any product development is to create new value for the customer. If the product has no new value, there is no need for the customer to trade their money for the new product. However, if the new product has a lot of value, it will a lot of customers attracted to the product.

The needs of customers are ever-evolving, along with their tastes and preferences. This means a product or service that was once so users can quickly become obsolete, and consumers will quickly move on and forget about the company. This is what new product development aims to avoid by providing consumers with the new value. And if the consumers deem the new product to be of overwhelming value, they will be more than happy to part with their money.

A lot of new products are an improvement over the older versions with only a few new features or slightly better performance. Such products may be able to sustain a company by offering some new value to make additional revenue, but they are hardly a boost to society.

There are times when new products will improve society beyond the immediate satisfaction of the consumer. An example of such a product could be the innovation of new medicines or automotive safety devices that may help save a lot of lives. None of these examples may provide the customer with immediate satisfaction but they save lives and hence improve society.

Business growth

Providing a new product or service to the consumer is essential to the survival of any company, even for the big ones that operate on a global scale. Growth is a must if a company wants to continue to exist and keep their employees who depend on the jobs they provide to support themselves and/or their family. A company that does not grow is sure to face a lot of challenges that will eventually make it wither out and die. This can be avoided by making sure employees work hard on new product design, come up with a product prototype and do what it takes to get it into the market as a finished product.

New products and services are the essences of any company. Without new products, a company can die off or end up being consumed by another. The society can benefit from the continued existence of such companies by providing continued employment to workers and in large through tax and other social cooperate outputs.

Companies have few choices but to grow and improve if they intend to survive and grow. New products and services being made by companies provide the mechanism for growth and improvement. Through this growth and improvement, a company can create new wealth for themselves and value for society.

Product development is an essential aspect of any company. Some may argue that without it, most companies would not even exist. It cannot also be a one-time thing. Even big companies that have a global presence need to spend valuable resources on new product development. Here are five reasons big businesses need new product development:

Competitive advantage

Staying ahead of the competition is important, especially for big businesses that have gone global. Developing a new product or service comes with a number of advantages, like attracting new customers and creating new wealth. For big businesses who are already leaders on the global market, this makes sure that they remain at the top.

Big businesses need to be leaders in innovation. And showing the world a new product design or prototype shows everyone that a company is creative and ready to break new ground. This generates some much-needed buzz around the new product, showing that the company is in the service of solving the problems of consumers in new and exciting ways.

When new players show up on the scene with a new product, it can cause a disruption to the market activities of already established big businesses, especially if the new product has an innovative product design. Even an innovative product prototype from a new company can cause consumers to see the old products from the old company as useless, which can be disastrous for them when the new player finally enters the market. New product development is a great way to stay relevant.

As you can see, even though new product development means going back to the drawing board and coming up with new product design and prototype, it is a worthy endeavour. This means that even big businesses cannot and should not ignore it.

Development framework

Developing a product is not something that can be free-styled, especially if one wants it to succeed. The product development process requires something to guide the process. Creating quality products to solve people's problems, it requires serious thought. That is where the concept of a framework comes in. Simply put, a framework is a tool that guides the thought process when solving a problem. If one faces something complex, having a framework can help breakdown the challenge.

We use frameworks every day without realising it. Each day we face problems that we need to solve that range from the mundane to the complex. For example, when choosing which restaurant to have dinner, one does not usually randomly pick any establishment. One comes up with key dimensions (location, type of food, service, prices and so on), as well as, set criteria (customer reviews, affordability, distance from home and so on). This is the same as product development. A framework of repeat, improve and scale helps massively when it comes to problem-solving during product development. This is very much a requirement when trying to get a product manufactured.

Now that we have an idea of what a framework is and why it is needed, we can briefly look at an example. One of the most commonly used frameworks is the FFE (fuzzy front end). FFE is a framework with all the steps defined but doesn’t specify in which order they should be carried out. The product development team is the one that decides how to tackle them depending on the nature of the product being developed. Following are the main steps of the FFE.

  • Identification of design criteria – The step is about coming up with a number of new product ideas. The team then sifts through the ideas until they identify one that is promising.
  • Idea analysis – Here, product feasibility is studied for each idea until a promising one is identified.
  • Concept genesis – After the feasibility of the idea is known, the team then works on coming up with a tangible concept.
  • Prototyping – The concept is then turned into a prototype very quickly, which is used to test several use-cases scenarios and appeal to consumers (maybe even investors).
  • Product development – In this step, the team analyses the business value of the product and if it will contribute to the continued existence of the company.
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Development strategy

Successfully bringing quality products to market requires a new product development (NPD) strategy. Most of the newly launched consumer products, about 85%, fail. However, businesses still need to undertake NPD projects to ensure their continued existence and growth. This allows them to explore new avenues and replace current exhausted solutions. They are various ways in which a business can approach new product development, and none of them are complicated.

Basically, it involves creating a strategy that identifies a need in an existing market, sets a time-frame and tests the product before launch. These steps in the strategy are guaranteed to increase the success of the new product. NPD is the process businesses conduct before introducing a new product in an existing market. The need for new product development arises for many reasons. Here are some reasons for new product development:

  • Meeting the evolving needs of consumers
  • Gaining a competitive edge due to increased competition
  • Utilising new technological advancements
  • Taking advantage of new opportunities that have arisen

Without a proper NPD strategy, businesses might run into a lot of problems. For example, the project might end up going on for too long, leading the business to use up resources they do not have. Worst of all, they might introduce a product into the market and discover that consumers have no need for it. In order to avoid these problems, an NPD strategy is needed. Here are some of the steps you can include in the strategy. A concept is the implementation plan of the idea. It is as important, if not more important than the idea itself. Usually, it takes significant time to develop a good concept and the process has to go through a  number of concepts before finalising one or two concepts.

The theoretical implementation of the idea starts with a preliminary design based on the selected concept(s). This step outlines all the main features of the product and identifies the general shape and size. Product aesthetics are usually defined and frozen within this step. The detailed design then goes on to identify all the specifics of the products, especially those directly related to product ease of manufacturing and assembly. One of the most important factors identified in this step is product strength and durability.

The design is then presented using 3D drawings, usually in STEP file format. However, higher standards require the 3D drawing to be paired with 2D technical drawings identifying specific tolerances and finish required for each feature of the product parts. This is of particular importance if you want to make sure all interfacing parts match together in the assembly.

A photo of the human hand moving chess pieces

Any company, whether big or small is not immune to the product life cycle. Consumer products have a limited life span on the market. When they are introduced, they experience growth before peaking at maturity. It is at this point that they start to decline, eventually plateauing somewhere down the line. That is when companies recognised the need for new product development (NPD) to ensure their continued existence.

To properly complete NPD projects, companies need a process that will guide them on how to take a product from idea to production and then to market. This is where a product development strategy comes in. But what exactly is it and why is it important for companies to have one?

To put it simply, a product development strategy is a strategy that aims to bring new products to the market. It also involves taking existing products and tweaking them to breath new life into them and reintroducing into the market as new. It is what companies do when they have exhausted all growth opportunities in the current market, but still want to continue growing without cessation.

Having a product development strategy ensures that you do not do your NDP project haphazardly. After all, nothing in the business world, especially revitalising your business, comes without risks. However, the benefits of undertaking an NPD right vastly outweigh any risks. Taking time to come up with a product development strategy has the following benefits.

A good product development strategy looks at the latest technology and incorporates it into the NPD project to come up with a quality product. This improves the overall product allowing it to meet the current needs of consumers, which are always evolving (more on them later). Once your company gains a solid reputation of making their products better with time, this can translate into more sales.

Reducing the cost of bringing great product ideas to life is a critical part of product development. The more costly it is to produce a product, the less profitable it is. Cost reduction can be achieved with a product development strategy. Once the costs of getting your product manufactured have been lowered, you can gain a competitive edge by offering them at a cheaper price. (Even at lower prices, your company can still have a healthy profit margin).

As noted before, consumer needs are always evolving. This is something that can not be stopped no matter how much a company refuses to change. Companies that refuse to change their products as consumers needs to evolve risk becoming irrelevant. A product development strategy prevents this from happening by allowing you to adapt and come up with products that constantly meet consumer needs.

The evolving of consumers needs is not always a bad thing, especially if you have innovative and creative minds working on your NPD project. By looking at the new consumer tastes and preferences, such minds can see the potential for tapping into a new market with their product development strategy.

Just like new product development is important to a company, so is the process that guides it. Without it, there will be no plan of action to bring an idea to life. A product development strategy is critical to the success of the NPD project, as well as the profitability and continued existence of the company.

Target market

The NPD process involves either improving a new product or creating a new one from scratch. For the former, one needs to listen to the complaints consumers have with the current product and implement those changes in the next iteration. The latter involves doing something similar, particularly with competitor products.

Once the market has been surveyed, the data can be analysed to reveal a trend in consumer complaints, allowing the business to take the appropriate action.

For example, if consumers are complaining about their electronic devices being a bit bulky, the business can explore options that can decrease device sizes. If the business manufactures smartphones, perhaps they can replace the current lithium-ion battery with a lithium-ceramic battery (LCB) instead to streamline the phone’s design.

There are many reasons why product testing is important. One of the most important reason is that showing your product to consumers in the form of a prototype allows you to get valuable feedback from real users. This is important because you get to find out how consumers will respond to the product and fix any mistakes that can impede manufacturing feasibility. A failed product can mark the end of any business venture. With many products failing after launch, going into the NPD process blind is no longer an option. A strategy is needed to make it a tale of success rather than another statistic.

Business plan

This is important in order to have enough time to develop the product. This requires careful planning by examining the reasons for new product development and letting them dictate the milestones and deadlines for the project. The critical thing to remember here is the time-frames need to be reasonable and take into account all the foreseeable variables that can cause a delay.

A business plan is not just a good way to convince investors to fund your product idea. It is also a means of ensuring that you always remain on track and get your product manufactured and available on the market as soon as possible. It will outline all the goals of developing the product and the strategic decisions and steps you must take to make the idea a success.

In this step, you have a functional product design and prototype that makes getting a patent worth it. This will ensure that no one else duplicates your idea for profit without your permission. Once you have a prototype, you are ready to fill out an application for a utility patent. Just make sure you have a patent professional look it over before filing.

Sketching benefits

Sketching is an essential aspect of any design project. Even with advances in CAD, design still starts with a sketch, with computer-aided design (CAD) software readily available these days, people are beginning to wonder if sketching is dead in the world of overall world. Why is sketching so important in product design? Here are a few reasons.

Sketching allows for creativity when it's just pen and paper, many people discover that they are less worried about perfection and just let their ideas flow and evolve. Since one’s first sketch is hardly ever the best one, it is a good idea to let ideas evolve with each sketch. This unleashes a massive amount of creativity and can make the design process fun and enjoyable as well.

Sketching saves time, once people boot up their favourite CAD software, they spend a lot of time refining and tweaking their design. Rather go through that time-consuming process, it is much easier and quicker to try out different variations through sketching first. With the sketch ready, one can significantly reduce the time it takes to come up with a design using design software.

Sketching fosters group work, when part of a team, sketching makes for productive and efficient brainstorming sessions. Each member can quickly sketch out their ideas and team members can provide valuable feedback and suggestions for revisions. After rounds of reviewing the sketches, the best ones can be consolidated into the main design after a group vote to make it more cohesive.

Sketching is one of the best ways to sell designs to clients. Once clients see sketches, they can easily tell whether the designer has understood their requirements or not. If they do not like something, another sketch can be produced for approval. It that way, the clients become more involved in the process, making it easier to overcome any hurdles in communication.

Inspiration for product design can come at any moment; it could be while taking a walk or riding the train. Relying solely on design software means that one would have to wait until they are in front of a computer to work on it. As many things can happen between now and then, the idea can be forgotten. But when sketch pad is always on hand, the idea can be sketched immediately while the details are still fresh in the mind.

While drawing requires a great deal of skill and talent, sketching simple diagrams does not – anyone can do it. Sketches do not have to look pretty; they are rough ideas that will be refined in another part of the design process anyway. As one continues to sketch regularly, they become good at it, meaning the sketches naturally start looking better and better.

With the reasons outlined above, it is easy to conclude that sketching makes one a better product designer. Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons why sketching is important. When people rush to use design software, they miss out on a fun and essential part of designing products for consumers.

Computer simulation

Technology has impacted product development in profound ways. And it only gets better with each advancement. These days, the use of computers has been widely adopted in solution product development. On top of producing models, computers can do so much more to ensure products feasibility and functionality. This can be achieved through simulation, which brings us to the concept of CAE (computer-aided engineering).

To put it simply, CAE is the use of computer software to simulate how a product will work in the real world. The simulated environment is developed using a combination of industrial design, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD) together with the CAE software. This has led to what is know as simulation-aided design. Below, we will discuss the benefits of simulation-aided design in product development.

Loading simulation in CAD

Manufacturing costs aside, filtering ideas and developing a product can be a costly process the longer the product stays in development. When you perform a simulation before moving on to steps like prototyping, you can make fewer prototypes. Not only does this save you a lot of time, but it also means you will bring down production costs, especially if the prototypes are costly. Simulation allows design engineers to identify problems with the design and fix most of them before anything tangible is produced.

It is well known that the more you spend time developing the product the more manufacturing feasibility decreases. A simulation can greatly reduce the product life cycle and increase the chances of making a feasible product. For example, you may find out that you are wasting too much time in development because you are using custom components when standard components in manufacturing can speed things up without sacrificing quality.

In product development, you are bounded to revisit any of the previous developmental stages if issues are discovered. This can set you back both time-wise and financially, depending on how far along the product is in the development life cycle. This can add more length to the life cycle, meaning getting the product manufactured can become more costly.

Many people are under the mistaken idea that running simulations only extends the development life cycle. But in reality, it is a great way to avoid such setbacks.

Shorter development life cycles from ideas to products, due to the use of simulation-aided design, help push products sooner into the market. This allows a company to capitalise on a product's growing demand, which in turns satisfy consumers increasing expectations

Developing ideas into quality products faster, and making them available on the market sooner, then helps gain a competitive edge. Competitors in the market then have to play catch up, while the first product is already selling, allowing the first comer to market to secure an ever-larger market share.

On top of coming up with feasible product ideas, conducting a simulation can do so much more. Particularly, it can encourage product designer to experiment with the design. This can allow them to subject it to a wide range of use cases, which can help them discover new opportunities for the product. The new opportunities can lead to the discovery of new markets, which can bring in new revenue streams.

As you can see, simulation-aided design can help with a number of things, on top of manufacturing feasibility and product usability. Technology has come far in helping product designers come up with a quality product. And as technology continues to advance, the simulation-aided design will only become more popular.

Manufacturer selection

If you are wondering how to get your product manufactured, this is where you can find manufacturers. This process requires not only knowing where to find them but using selection criteria to find one perfect for your specific project. If you have decided to find a product manufacturer yourself, you need to know how to separate the best from the rest. Not doing this when getting your product manufactured can lead to a lengthy and costly choosing process.

Do the following to narrow down your search for the perfect manufacturer:

  • Take your time: Do not go with the first option. Make a shortlist of manufacturers you think are the perfect fit and get to know them. What attributes do you desire? Make a list and compare the options.
  • Check what other companies they have worked with: If the manufacturer has made products for a number of successful companies in your industry, that is a good sign. Always work with reputable manufacturers.
  • Know the size of their operation: The bigger the factory, the better. This probably means they have been around for a while and have the capacity and experience to take on your project. The opposite might be true if the manufacturer is small.
  • Know where they get their components: If they use standard components in manufacturing, make sure they are getting them from high-quality sources. Low-quality components can degrade the quality of the product and even make it dangerous. This is not good for your bottom line.
  • Choose someone to partner with: If you want to keep the cost of manufacturing the product down, pick a manufacturer willing to provide quality at a reasonable price. Picking one who wants to partner with you can help grow your business and ensure its continued existence.

Finding a manufacturer to get your product manufactured is not an easy task. You need to know where to look and what to look for. There are plenty of places where manufacturers can be found to get your product manufactured that one can find it difficult to begin. You cannot go wrong with starting your search on the internet. However, here are the best places to start once online:

Google’s search engine has helped many people find what they are looking for time and time again. But people have become accustomed to finding what they need on the first page of the search results. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer bothers to stay up to date with the current search engine guidelines for making their websites rank. You might want to do a thorough search and go beyond that first page if you want to get your product manufactured.

Directories are another great place since manufacturers use them to set up profiles with all their contact information. Here you might be presented with hundreds of results and you need to take your time and sort through them. Popular directories to find manufacturers include Oberlo, Sourcify, Alibaba and AliExpress.

If you want to know how to manufacture a product idea, try asking people in your network; you can be directed to the best manufacturers quickly. Even though some people may be unwilling or reluctant to share their contacts, it never hurts to ask. Also, you can join a number of online business forums and ask around. There are even Facebook groups that can help you achieve this goal.

Although all the options outlined above can surely help, none of them can beat an agency. Hiring one when you want to know how to get a product manufactured is the quickest and easiest option. Not only that, they will search their extensive networks and find you a manufacturer that is the right fit, saving you a lot of time and money.

Pre-marketing new products

Entrepreneurs concerned with success can ensure new products marketability by using a structured development process. It was developed by Dr Robert G. Cooper from an in-depth study on reasons why products succeed or fail on the market. When developing new concepts, the following eight steps are critical to determining the marketability of the new product and the continued existence of the company.

Idea generation

Idea generation is the first step in the NPD process. It involves searching for new ideas using internal and external SWOT analysis and looking at marketing trends in the industry to develop the best ideas. All the while taking into account return on investment, affordability and distribution. New product ideas may be collected from internal sources, customers, competitors, distributors and suppliers.

Idea screening

Idea screening involves the careful selection of good ideas from a pool of ideas. All the ideas are filtered in order to separate the feasible product ideas from the non-feasible ones. Some of the factors that might be used to filter through the ideas may include:

  • Is the product addressing the needs of the customer?
  • Does the product align with the company’s objectives, goals and resources?
  • Does it consider the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the current industrial trends?
  • Affordability, advertising and distribution
  • What is the expected return on investment?

Concept development

To move the new product development project along, the feasible product ideas will have to be turned into product concepts. The product concept is a detailed version of the idea, describing the idea in the view of the customer. Testing these concepts helps the developers know the customers’ reaction before the product is introduced onto the market. The developers want to know how the customers view the new product and if it fulfils the customers' needs. At this stage, the new product development process also looks at legalities related to the new products such as patent research and design due diligence.

Marketing strategy analysis

Once the product concept has been tested and approved, a marketing strategy should be set up to find the best and most profitable way to sell the new product. The developer must look at the target market, product positioning and the marketing mix that should be used. The business analysis needs to take into consideration if there is a demand for the new product, production costs, competition and identify the point of break-even.

Product development

At this point, the concept must be developed into a tangible working product prototype to show that it can be turned into a workable. A product that can be put on the market. The product prototype can be used to determine the exact product design and specifications, and also determine production methods. The product prototype also gives consumers something realistic to test and judge its aesthetics, as well as packaging. This allows the developers to gather useful feedback that they can use to make the final product a quality product.

Test marketing

Test marketing is about arranging focus groups, test panels and sample tests. This gives the developer useful information for last-minute improvements and changes to the product. This stage also brings buzz and hype around the product before the actual advertising and marketing is rolled out. The marketability of the product is proved here, making a good case for why product testing is important.

Commercialisation

This stage is when the actual completed new product is introduced to the market. This is where the pre-agreed marketing mix strategies and marketing are put into effect. The four important things to look at when introducing the new product are:

  1. When to release the new product
  2. Where is the best place to release it and how widespread will the release be?
  3. To whom will the distribution and promotion target?
  4. How will the developer release the product to their target market

Market introduction

A detailed launch plan is needed for maximum positive impact of the product introduction into the market. At this point, the developer can look back at the product development process and learn from mistakes made and review the performance of the market. By following these eight steps, new product development can be made easier, faster and have a higher chance of launching a successfully marketable product. A product idea can make or break a company. A successful product means continued existence, while a failed product means the opposite. It is up to the company to come up with great product ideas that are marketable.

Ensure quality

Every local or global business must provide quality products through a structured process to maintain product quality. Quality tells customers that the product will do what it is intended to do and will last them a long time. This is something that a low-quality product cannot do. Following are a few more reasons why quality is important. That is because the quality of a product is something that is very important to customers.

After one provides customers with a quality product or service, not only will their expectations be met, they will be raised. They will expect the same level of quality every time they think of purchasing your product or service, meaning that if you disappoint, they will take their business elsewhere. So keep your customers satisfied by always providing them with quality products. This, in turn, will make your customer demand your product or service even more.

Not only does providing a quality product to keep your customers satisfied, but it also makes them trust you. In the end, they will become so loyal to your brand that even a price increase will not send them running to your competitors. Customers appreciate quality, and when you continuously provide it, they follow your vision and turn into your biggest advocates. When businesses do not build trust with their customers, they are more likely to fail, especially when operating in global markets.

Think about it: how many times have you trusted the word of a friend when they recommended a certain product or service to you? Almost all the time. That is the power that word of mouth carries – a power that can make or break a business. The logic here is simple: the more you give your customers quality, the more they will recommend your brand to their family and friends. The more they do this, the more leads you generate and the more income you make. If you fail to provide your customers with quality, they will tell others to stay away, which can be extremely disastrous to your business on so many levels.

Has anyone ever complained about or returned a product because it is a quality product? Probably not. The problem with complaints and returns is that they do not just hurt your reputation, they also hurt your bottom line. Not to mention that you will also incur additional costs in order to analyse the product, determine the root cause and conduct product testing to make sure it is good to go on the local, national or global markets. So whether it is a product design, prototype or final product, quality is a must.

If you do not manufacture quality products, how do you expect to beat the competition on the local, national or global markets? Customers need to set your product apart from the rest and giving them a low-quality product will set in you apart in a bad way. Even if you sold your product at a lower price compared to your competitors, customers will avoid it if the quality is bad. Keep this in mind: quality always sells, even when the price is high.

As you can see, quality is not something that you should take lightly. If you want to know just how much producing a low-quality product can hurt your business, just take the above-mentioned points and imagine their opposite. (low customer satisfaction, lack of trust, bad reputation and losing customers to the competition). So always remember that quality is important to customers.

Summary

To get a quality product manufactured, one needs something to guide the approach to problem-solving. Although one can just go into it hoping for the best, that is not the way to bring an idea to life. An approach is needed to structurally and systematically give the best chance of solving the problem. That is what a product development framework helps achieve.

The product development process for physical products reduces failure risk when turns ideas into products. The process is as simple as research, concept, design, test, and then manufacture. However, one needs to utilise experience.

Product research

Research usually involves finding a solution for the presented challenge, this could be a new solution, or an existing solution that can be adapted to make the new physical products. Expired patents are a good place to start, although it is recommended to study current patents as well, to avoid infringing on other companies intellectual property rights. In the case of a brand new solution, a feasibility study is a must to ensure the solution is manufacturable. The sub-steps of this step are: Development Plan, Feasibility Study, and Design Research.

Product concept

Concept development is initiated after the solution direction is identified in the research step. It is then followed by designing the outline of the main features. This can be done using hand sketches on paper or digital drawing software. The tool we prefer is Sketchbook for its platform diversity, ease of use, and compatibility with Samsung Galaxy S-Pen and Microsoft Surface Pen. The sub-steps of this step are: Concept Development and Preliminary Design.

Ava (virtual model) approaching a cobot robot
A collaborative (cobot) robot arm design by our company

Product design

Design is further developed based on the concept with all the details and parts being defined. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software is almost a necessity in this step, at least in modern times. The tool we prefer is Fusion 360 for its collaborative features that supports our online, remote, and global team. If the physical product has electronic or software components, they are also developed in this step. The sub-steps of this step are: Detailed Design and Technology Integration.

Product test

Test is how a product is validated and how the design is improved. This starts with prototyping which can be digitally simulated or physically built and tested. The design is then reviewed and optimised. The step involves going back to the design steps multiple times to improve the design and reduce the risk of future failure. We usually prefer to utilise FDM 3D printing for initial prototypes, and more time consuming high accuracy SLS 3D printing for final stage prototypes. The sub-steps of this step are: Design Prototyping, Design Test, Design Review, and Design Optimisation.

Product manufacturing

Produce is the final step in the development process where final designs are documented into a standard technical format. Potential suppliers are then vetted to set up the supply chain. The production management then involves supervision of the selected suppliers, usually onsite for more complex products. Finally, quality control expert comes in to validate the products are being produced according to specifications. The sub-steps of this step are: Technical Documentation, Supply Chain Setup, Production Management, and Quality Control.

Parts of this insight were first published 
as early as 
September 2014
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DegreeSign is a research and development company providing global services for various industries from office and homeware to industrial and agriculture tools. Check our research and development pricing here.