New product development should be the result of a carefully managed process of identifying opportunities, weighing up risks and implementing a detailed plan of technical, creative and marketing actions. Don't get us wrong, there needs to be some passion and determination as well, but without a process, your chances of commercial success are limited.
Most companies evolve an approach to these issues, often based on a methodology that worked reasonably well a long time ago, and hasn't been questioned since. Because of this, taking some time out to look at how your product development process works could make a dramatic difference to your success rate and profitability.
Now, we know what you’re thinking… “We don’t have time to faff around talking about stuff like this, we’ve got work to do”. We understand this, which is why we’ve put together a simple audit workbook based on research carried out at Cambridge University and Imperial College. The workbook has 8 pages of questions that enable you and your team to evaluate where you are, and where you’d like to be, on topics ranging from concept design to profitability. There are also three pages where you can make notes on actions that can be taken to improve your performance. We think you could work through the whole document in an afternoon. There are no consultants to pay, no fee for the workbook – just the opportunity cost of one afternoon, which we know is considerable, but just think about some of the potential benefits:
- Improve your ability to identify profitable new product opportunities
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to develop new products
- Raise product quality and minimise returns and recalls, and
- Increase your competitive edge with improved products and lower costs
The overall effect of the product development audit process is to create a strengthened brand for your company and a more cooperative team of people to help you deliver it – not bad for one afternoon’s work.