Save Time and Money with a Successful NPI Process
Having a proper new product introduction (NPI) process is intrinsically tied to successful product launches. Take the inverse approach: if you don’t do your homework, which includes market research about consumer need, competition, and shelf-life for technical obsolescence among some of the considerations, your idea is effectively dead in the water and your product—should you actually get it down the production line—will very likely fail.
Will Your Product Fail or Sail?
There are many reasons why products fail, and often there are shades of many combined reasons that add to the totality of the failure. Among them are:
• Market needs not correctly assessed—timing poorly executed
• Obsolescence window that closes way too quickly (tied to above); typical with technologies
• Product actually ahead of its time; typically with technologies
• Imbalance in vision and pragmatics: over-engineered; under-resourced
• Failed pricing strategies
• Inability to properly communicate the concept to consumers; or requires too much consumer education
• Companies depend on existing brand promise; new product brand extension conflicts with established brand
• Misaligned advertising campaigns
No one wants to travel down that rabbit hole, only to come to a dead and costly end. Keeping the above variables in your scope, a thoughtful and organized approach to a new product introduction can save you time and money—and lots of grief. Keeping your NPI process lean and organized will cut costs before and after your product launch, and can help you manage product iterations into the future.
Planning Your New Product Introduction Process
There are so many questions and considerations when contemplating any NPI, that putting segments into “buckets” helps to mitigate the overwhelming sense of where to start, when to go (and grow), and how to get there. Here’s the first part of a plan schema to help organize your NPI process.
Concept Launch & Scope
This requires that the core team be identified. You will need cross-functional input from many departments, including:
• C-Suite; Finance
The chain of command needs to be clearly defined. All players need to know who is in charge of what for which portion of each step. This sounds like a given, but it is not always the reality. This group will begin the process by establishing proof of concept—get definitive answers to these questions:
- Does anyone need it?
- Have you really done your research?
- Is there existing competition?
- Can you design a minimum-viable product for the initial NPI and plan for iterations with rapid prototyping cycles to meet market demands?
- Will you be able to, or need to, provide field service or ongoing customer support?
- What is the risk assessment of predicted volume of sales and profits?
- Is your pricing strategy set at a fixed or variable rate?
- Does your product possess the perpetuity factor: can it evolve with changing markets?
There are many variables involved in a successful NPI launch that require you to do your homework—the kind of preparation you would already have completed before approaching a contract manufacturer like Fourstar. We’ve just begun to explore a part of the first step to NPI success here.
For a complete discussion, download our eBook, “6 Steps to NPI Success.”