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Technical & Mechanical Feasibility
Manufacturing and production outsourcing
There are two elements needed for new product development: a process and the
people to participate in it.
Consultancy services including product identification, Market survey etc.
Techno-economic feasibility report preparation.
Preparation of basic engineering package from Laboratory / Pilot plant
Procurement services including inspection and expediting.
Site management including project monitoring.
The New Product Development Process
No new product development process is exactly the same as another. Two
processes may have similar steps, but the underlying function of the process is
controlled by the specific company culture.
The information gathered during this study indicates that the NPD process can
be broken down into four general categories:
Product and process design
Production and delivery.
Every organization must come up with new products and/or improvement ideas for
an existing line, and developing and using all sources for potential ideas is
vital. The study identified specific sources that tend to be good idea
specific company laboratory/research group
The ability to reduce the vast number of ideas into a more realistic figure is
a key issue at most organizations. One best-practice organization uses an
annual brainstorming/planning session for this purpose, as well as a matrix
diagram to prioritize which ideas will have the greatest impact on the
customer. Another organization encourages its employees to devote portions of
their time to developing ideas, going as far as to provide grant money to
employees for further research or idea examination.
A third best-practice company starts with a strategic document outlining
product lines the company will pursue. The strategy provides product slots that
are to be filled with specific product ideas. Upon examination and approval,
the viable ideas that fit into the product strategy enter the development
process. Yet another organization begins by outlining current market size for a
product, estimated project return, estimated capital requirements, and
competitive issues. Through customer discussions the company determines what
customers want and need and then develops concrete concepts from the feedback.
Depending on the organization, unused ideas are either stored or discarded. One
organization stores all ideas in a database and revisits them until they are
deemed useless. Another company charges the individual designer with deciding
to keep or discard and idea. In the end, the company culture and the company's
industry combine to determine what happens to unused ideas.
Once the viable ideas are selected, they must be further developed, examined,
and prioritized before the select few concepts proceed to full design. This
phase requires a more formal review and planning process that ensures the
concepts are technically feasible, will make a sustainable product, and
will-with conservative estimates-allow the organization to make a profit.
Feasibility assessment can be considered a subset of this phase. It usually is
performed, however, on a regular basis throughout the front end of the NPD
process (idea generation to design).
This phase typically includes development of a formal business plan with actual
forecasts, product description and initial specifications, preliminary
marketing strategy, and project schedule and resource requirements. At that
point, an executive review generally approves the product for design and
additional resource allocation.
One best-practice company has two major gates that must be passed before the
product enters the design phase: the business plan approval and the product
concept review. The business plan approval includes action items such as
strategy alignment, competitive positioning, sourcing plan, resource
identification, design-to-cost analysis, return on investment analysis, risk
assessment, and a preliminary process plan. Once the business plan is approved,
the concept is given a formal review. Key steps undertaken here include
top-level product simulation; design failure mode effects analysis; and
simulation, test, characterization, and quality plans.
Another organization's concept development stage centers around a formal
executive approval. Once the top ideas are selected, they are developed
further, as well as costed. The costing activity requires that the team
forecast a product cost within a certain percentage of the wholesale price. At
the same time, the engineering department assesses the feasibility to make sure
it will be able and ready to design and produce the product. Major questions
that must be answered before formal approval include: How are we going to build
What technologies are we going to use? Where are the factories going to be?
This information is placed into a detailed project plan and presented to the
Product and Process Design
This stage involves turning the concept into a tangible product design and
transforming that design into a working model, be it a prototype or a pilot.
Along with designing the product, it is essential to design the process that
will produce the product.
The main areas addressed include:
identifying, monitoring, and implementing changes to specifications;
and verifying product designs through pilots.
To change the original product specification, some form of approval is
required. This can range from upper management review to individual functional
area review to team consensus. Changes usually are monitored to determine if
the quality of the product has been increased or if the design meets customer
requirements to a greater extent.
At a number of organizations, the design is frozen when the product
specifications are developed and set. Minor changes, refinements, and tuning of
the product can occur only to a certain extent. Other organizations never
completely freeze the design and are open to change even after the product has
gone to production. If a change is determined to be necessary and vital to
fulfilling customer needs and expectations, the organization will make the
Prototypes or pilots allow the designers to test and verify the ability of the
product or service to perform as originally expected. One best-practice
organization has two prototype states. The first is an engineering prototype in
which a small amount of a new product is built to ensure it works and meets
customers' needs. This enables the team to resolve a majority of problems early
in the process. The second, or advanced, prototype requires that a larger
amount of the product is produced so that formal internal and field testing can
occur. These prototypes usually are close to how the product will appear during
Another organization selects test sites to roll out the new product concept.
Once the site has been selected, proper training is given to employees so that
they understand their roles and responsibilities. The product is then
implemented and tested with collected measures to assist in fine-tuning the
process and make clear its impact on the customer and employees. Any changes to
the process are implemented during the test run. After all the tests are
completed and the process has been verified, the product is rolled out to other
Once the final design is verified and approved, the product is launched into
production. A scale-up period normally is required before full production can
begin. Individuals from numerous functional areas are needed to ensure a smooth
transition between design and manufacturing.
Several items normally are required before production can begin. They include:
a formal manufacturing/production plan including all product requirements,
a detailed service plan,
a quality plan to ensure all products conform to specifications/customer
a marketing plan,
and a continuous improvement effort for the process.
For one best-practice organization, installing common process equipment at its
plants around the world help cut down on the inconsistency among products
produced at various plants. It is almost impossible to create exactly the same
products, however, because of the differences in the plants' locations,
employees, and facilities. A quality assurance group within each business unit
is responsible for verifying that the product and each manufacturing site
producing the product meet the required criteria.
At another company, once the product is ready to launch, the marketing manager
and product manager determine that the marketing plan is ready, the media are
in place, and the sales personnel are informed. At the same time, the project
manager coordinates with all technical people related to the production of the
product. The team is present at the plant location during scale-up in case any
problems arise and to ensure that product quality and other criteria are met.
TOOLS USED THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
Specific tools and activities are used throughout the new product development
process to enable organizations to better understand the markets they wish to
enter, the products they wish to produce, and the means needed to develop the
Many organizations have and use documentation tools and/or methods that allow
for concise capturing of new product development information. These tools have
a variety of names and activities, but common themes arose in the data
collected during this study. The first main category is specification
requirements, which includes systems, internal customers, product, hardware,
software, and function.
The second main category is a product development master file that contains
information on various projects and their history as they proceed through the
development process. Future product teams may use this information as a
reference. Included in these files is information on past business plans, all
elements of design and development, launch plans, team activities, minutes from
meetings, and project schedules.
MEASURES FOR NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Key measures are an important element of any new product development process.
They enable practitioners to make decisions about the viability of new product
ideas, monitor those new product ideas that have been selected to enter
the process, make necessary adjustments to a product development effort as
it moves through the process, and help determine the success or failure of the
product after development.
The measures fall into a variety of categories:
A number of these categories are used more frequently than others, such as
market (89 percent of respondents), financial (89 percent of respondents),
production (83 percent of respondents), time, (83 percent of respondents), and
cost (78 percent of respondents).
Participants indicated the key measures or results they felt most satisfied
with, in terms of improvement. These included increased number of new products
per employee (50 percent of best-practice companies), reduced time to market
for new products (50 percent of best-practice companies), and improved quality
of new products (45 percent of best-practice companies).
While this study uncovered a number of important activities the best-practice
companies use for new product development-such as teams and measures-it is
important to remember that the process will differ at each organization. Each
activity is driven by the company culture. It is necessary, therefore, to
understand the culture engrained in an organization before any of these
activities can be adapted or developed there.
No matter what form it takes, the development of new products and services will
continue to be a vital part of every organization. Continuous improvement in
terms of understanding the related process and making strides to develop true
efficiencies is essential to organizational survival.