Why is NPI Important?
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. Developing profitable, timely, high-quality products is more important today than ever before.
Visibility to product performance has never been higher, while competitive pressures continue to squeeze margins and time to market. To compete, manufacturers must deliver better, faster and cheaper. Suppliers today are monitored by automated supplier management systems – these systems categorise suppliers based on risk formulas, which include factors like quality and on time delivery. Preferred suppliers are more likely to be awarded new contracts, while higher risk suppliers require more oversight and therefore receive fewer competitive contracts. This level of scrutiny and instantaneous global visibility means that manufacturers can no longer afford to launch products and improve them post release; product performance and quality must be excellent at initial release.
What is Successful NPI?
The four top criteria required for successful NPI are product quality, product performance, cost/margin, and time to market. It is also well known that these criteria tend to conflict with each other and often, organisations are required to decide whether to increase cost, delay release, or launch with known quality defects. It is “easy” to achieve one of these criteria, hard to accomplish two, and a strategic and collaborative effort is required to achieve all NPI success criteria consistently.
Common Reasons for NPI Failures
NPI areas that require handoffs among multiple stakeholders are requirements management, risk, product verification and validation, suppliers, and production planning. Challenges vary by discipline, but three issues are common areas of concern: lack of consistent or formal processes, disparate systems and data sources, and late engagement in NPI. These challenges have a negative impact on key NPI success criteria – time to market, costs, performance, and quality. Weak cross-functional collaboration is a crippling obstacle to NPI success.
While there are plenty of reasons why targets set for a NPI launch are not achieved, below is a list of 5 of the most common reasons. NPI failures can include any combination of the following:
- Lack of formal launch processes
- Lack of project management approach and resource commitment
- Design and development issues and delayed design freeze
- The manufacturing process design is not able to achieve desired ramp up volumes
- Product quality or supply problems
What Can You Do as a Manufacturer Now?
Whether it’s a start up or an experienced NPI team, EVERY launch is different and must be addressed as such. A few steps that may help to drive successful product launches are:
- Identify a “NPI lead” and cross-functional team, mapping out requirements from each participant in a product launch schedule.
- Determine time and scale of NPI by creating a “baseline” readiness report.
- Create a NPI plan with definitive and measurable goals.
- Build sales and operational readiness by ensuring sales and operational teams are trained in new product launch excellence and have sign off on product launch date.
- Conduct a post product launch evaluation to learn lessons for the future by performing a thorough assessment and debrief of actions.
To start your NPI improvement journey, complete your free NPI self-assessment and one of our experts will provide you with feedback.
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A Bit More About Robin
Robin Talwar has over 20 years of international experience within the manufacturing sector, working with leading OEMs and cross-sector tier 1 suppliers. He began his career as a Quality Engineer for Honda Car Manufacturing, developing skills in Problem Solving, Kaizen and Quality Circles. Moving in to the role of Supplier Development Engineer at BMW Germany, Robin was involved in NPI activities and application of Core Tools with suppliers. Joining the Greenfield Project Team with Daimler Trucks, Robin led the Supplier Selection and Development activities to achieve a challenging 85% localisation target. Before joining Industry Forum in May 2015 as Principal Consultant in NPI and Lifecycle Management, Robin was Head of Logistics Operations for a brand new car manufacturing plant of Honda Cars in India, where he successfully developed a Japanese 3PL for inbound logistics and milk run operations.
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