For companies seeking to innovate and grow at a rapid pace, an efficient new product introduction (NPI) process is business-critical. New product introduction can create an immense burden on manufacturing operations.
Understanding market demand and ability to supply can help reduce risk. Learn how to improve your new product introduction process to build in quality and reduce waste.
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New Product Introduction = Growth Insurance
An effective NPI process can fuel an organization’s growth, creating more opportunity for innovation by using resources more effectively. Business revenues are expected to increase over time, while revenue from existing products tends to decline over time.
New products help fill the gap between these two market pressures. An effective process for new product introduction will help organizations develop strategies based on answers to questions like:
- Can we meet our revenue goals with the NPI opportunities currently under development?
- How much effort / time / money do we need to invest in development in order to reach our revenue targets?
The ability to manage supply and demand in new product introduction allows organizations to more effectively plan for growth.
New Product Introduction Process
An efficient and effective new product introduction process structure enables organizations to deliver quality new products, on time and on budget. It includes the following elements.
Current state analysis
In order to develop a product that meets a need, you first need to identify what that need is. Conducting a current state analysis enables organizations to identify key strengths and areas for improvement, to ensure that the product(s) being developed most accurately meet a need expressed within the market.
Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
In virtually any team setting, clearly defined roles and responsibilities enables better communication and collaboration. Defining roles upfront reduces the risk and cost of duplicate effort and rework, while opening opportunities for more effective problem-solving.
Quality, cost, and delivery targets
Since the goal of any new product introduction process is to improve an organization’s ability to deliver quality products on time and on budget, it makes sense that quality, cost, and delivery targets are a key element of an NPI process.
Scalable implementation approach
A true test of a new product introduction process is its scalability, because ultimately, the goal of any NPI effort is to optimize new product development across the entire organization, and sometimes, within the organization’s ecosystem of suppliers and manufacturers.
Standardized supporting structure
When managing new product introduction across a large organization, creating standardized templates and tools for documenting the NPI process encourages alignment and knowledge sharing. Effective knowledge sharing helps organizations keep progress moving forward, allowing for greater innovation and creative problem solving.
New Product Introduction and Lean Principles
The key elements of an effective new product introduction process align closely with the key elements of Lean principles. Some of the most relevant Lean principles include:
Optimize the whole
In many organizations, new product introduction can create a political environment, where various teams compete for resources. Creating a standardized process for new product introduction enables organizations to practice the Lean concept of optimizing the whole – removing the need for competition and instead fostering an environment of collaboration, where teams work together to identify and implement the best opportunities.
Build quality in
As businesses grow, the limitations of homegrown systems expose themselves. Lean organizations set themselves up for sustainable growth by practicing the Lean principle of Building Quality In.
The concept is fairly simple: Automate and standardize any tedious, repeatable process, or any process that is prone to human error. This allows Lean companies to error-proof significant portions of their value streams, so they can focus their energy on creating value for their customers.
Beginning with a current state analysis and using standardized tools and templates allows Lean organizations to build quality into the new product introduction process.
Deliver fast by managing flow
The Lean principle of Deliver Fast by Managing Flow is based on the idea that the faster companies can deliver value to their customers, the sooner they can begin to learn from customer feedback. The more we learn from customers, the better able we are able to provide value to them.
Optimizing the new product introduction process for delivery enables organizations to deliver value to and receive from their customers faster.
A Lean organization is a learning organization – it grows and develops through analyzing the results of small, incremental experiments. In order to retain that information as an organization, the learning must be shared.
The Lean principle of Create Knowledge says that Lean organizations have to provide the infrastructure to properly document and retain valuable learning. This is also a critical element of any new product introduction process, so that organizations can keep progress moving forward.