Last week our discussion began with the need for developing a brand-new line of products, which required the addition of a new expert in that area as project manager.
Last week our discussion began with the need for developing a brand-new line of products, which required the addition of a new expert in that area as project manager. Now, before you begin to define the product objectives, have that person spend several weeks researching current technical journals and publications for the latest technology available for the basic engineering of the product. What new materials might be available that weren’t around when current products in the field were designed? Is there new computer modeling pertinent to the operation that will give new insight into efficiencies? Chances are that there are many new technologies available in the marketplace that can be applied to a new approach that companies already making that product are not using.
Following that research, it is highly recommended that you discuss the potential development with your key customers to get their insights into their needs and expectations. This contact should be the first in a series that will be in place during the entire development project.
During this time it is also recommended that you purchase some examples of the competitive products already in the marketplace. Be sure to examine any patents that cover the technology. Carefully examine how the competition is manufactured and, if possible, how it performs. If the items cannot reasonably be purchased, make field visits to evaluate the performance in the field and get some customer feedback.
With all this information, it is now time to clearly define the objectives and operating parameters for the new product. These need to be carefully laid out to emphasize the specific advantages that this technology will have to achieve over the available products. These will become clear markers for the product-development team. Success or failure will be measured by how these markers are achieved. It is also appropriate at this time to define the projected cost for manufacturing the product and the expected sales volume.
What are the requirements for the export market? What permits will be required? The margin between the cost and selling price needs to be set greater than the existing margins for the currently manufactured products.