There was a time in the not-too-distant past when a company could create a notable product and reap the benefits of that product for many years. However, today’s market is far more competitive than it used to be and companies now face the prospect of market saturation for single product designs. This can cause revenues and profits to decline and limit the growth potential of a business. Aspirational growth targets are fundamental to future business strategy and a large part of achieving this growth will involve the introduction of new opportunities and new products into the business.
A desire of every growing organisation is to achieve product launch excellence while bringing new products to the market. In doing so building on stable foundations is critical to success.
A well-defined product and technology roadmap element will help to align an organisation’s development efforts and efficiently manage product lifecycles while meeting customer needs. This element will play a key role in linking NPI to business strategy, including a definition of what new products or technology will contribute towards business growth targets.
An analysis of your product portfolio and costing model will help to bring to the surface profitable solutions that already exist in an organisation. Product evolution of these focussed Product Market Groups will work as a good input for business development and help to align new opportunities with existing commercial strengths in the business.
NPI projects are often not given sufficient priority in the business to have specific project management resources allocated to them. It often falls to a single function to run new product launches in amongst their other responsibilities, with limited cross-functional support. This can result in a late launch into manufacturing with incomplete information and a stressful push through the final production stages in an attempt to deliver on time to the customer. Resources within an organisation should be channelled through an effective Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process. S&OP link with NPI will help to manage resource and capacity balance while introducing new products in the business.
In an effort to improve timelines and effectiveness of a product launch, a number of organisations are experimenting with different best practices in their NPI processes. A big question is what should they do first? A good starting point is to do some internal analysis and identify strengths and weaknesses. Earlier this year Industry Forum launched a free NPI self-assessment tool to help organisations start their NPI improvement journey. If you have not already done so here is your chance to complete the free NPI self-assessment.