NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
A product is anything that is capable of satisfying a felt need. A new product is the one which is truly innovative and is significantly different from other existing products.
The development of a new product passes through seven distinct stages.
The stages are: needs identification, advance product planning, advance design, detailed engineering design, production process design and development, product evaluation & improvement and product use & support.
Needs identification must be preceded must be preceded by idea generation. New product development starts with an idea. Ideas emanate from customers, top management, staff of the marketing department, production department or from the engineering section.
Once a product idea surfaces, it must be demonstrated that, the new product fulfils some consumers needs, and that existing products do not satisfy the need.
Advance Product Planning
Otherwise called feasibility study, advance product planning includes preliminary market analysis; creating alternative concepts for the product; clarifying operational requirements; establishing design criteria and their priorities; and estimating logistics requirements for producing, distributing and maintaining the product in the market.
At this stage, conceptual design of the product shall emerge. The conceptual design for a pen, for example, would articulate its length, weight, strength, shape, color, retail price and so on. Concept design is finalized by the production and operations personnel, joining together. Such joint-efforts would also help design and test new production processes early in the development process.
The next step product development process is the advance design, which involves detailed investigation by basic and applied researchers into technical feasibility and also identifying the trade-offs in product design. Promising design alternatives are evaluated according to critical parameters to determine whether design support such as analytical testing, experimentation, physical modeling and prototype testing will be required.
Detailed Engineering Design
1. Design for function to ensure that the product will perform as intended.
2. Design for reliability to ensure that the product will perform consistently.
3. Design for maintainability so that, the product can be economically maintained.
4. Design for safety to ensure that, the product will perform with least physical hazards to the user and the environment.
5. Design must be so that, the product can be produced with the known manufacturing processes at the intended cost and volumes. Computer analysis, simulations and physical prototypes allow for testing various design alternatives and validate that, the final design meets the design objectives. Since objectives can conflict with each other, trade-offs are inevitable in the optimal design.
Typically, the final design includes drawings and other documentation as well as a prototype or a trial model of the product.
Production Process Design and Development
Armed with the detailed product designs, engineers and manufacturing specialists prepare plans for material acquisitions, production, warehousing, transportation and distribution. This is not enough. This stage also involves planning for other supporting systems such as controls, information and human resources.
Product use and Support
An important stage of product development considers support for consumers who use the product. Support systems might
1. Educate users on specific application of the product.
2. Provide warranty and repair services.
3. Distribute replacement parts.
4. Upgrade the product with design improvements.