Developing New Products

Dear Valued Customers

Another area of major consideration for any product management is product development.  It goes without saying that companies need to have a dynamic product development policy to guarantee its future growth and indeed their very survival.  Faced with constant threats from competitions, innovative developments, saturated markets for existing products and ever changing customers’ tastes and needs, any company should have a well- defined program of product development and launches.

The introduction of new products can:

  • create differential advantages;
  • enhance the firm’s image;
  • support continued growth.;
  • limit risk through diversification;
  • capitalize on technological breakthroughs;
  • improve the firms’ productivity or be responsive to recycling issues;
  • help firms respond to changing demographics and lifestyles; and
  • help the firms’ respond to Government mandates.

You must be certainly aware that before a product is introduced to the market, it goes through a series of steps.   This planning process, which is normally referred to as the New Product Development Process, allows a firm to generate and evaluate ideas, eliminate the least attractive ones, develop the product and finally test and introduce it to the marketplace.  The seven phases relate to idea generation, idea screening, concept testing, business analysis, product development, test marketing and commercialization.

 New products are, by their very nature, innovative.  These innovativeness result from creative insight and free thinking.  Such creativity is crucial to success.  The organization must generate ideas that tap the potential of these markets.  These ideas not the final product, that will be interactively determined throughout the development process, but these ideas do form a basis for further investigation and a set of starting points for innovations.  While it may be possible to develop ideas in a vacuum, it’s possible to couple creativity with information from various sources such as marketing, R&D, engineering.

New products activities start from a number of alternatives initiating forces such as market needs, technological developments, improvements in engineering and production, inventions and patents, and competitions’ actions.  These forces also act as sources of ideas.  To be effective the organization should not only look at the initiation source, but all potential idea courses.  While there is always a pressure to respond with a “me too” or second but better strategy, more effective ideas could come from examination of market needs or from a recent technological development.

Methods to generates ideas can be as simple as setting up information channels that are sensitive to idea sources or as sophisticated as using creative group methods.  Some creative ideas come directly from the environment and all an organization must do is be sensitive to the ideas’ sources and conduct a direct search of opportunities.   The goal of idea generation is a large number of very different ideas.  The more ideas generated in this step, the more likely one or two of those will pass the screening tests in the idea management phase and progress toward the design phase of the development process.

See you soon.

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