In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) covers the complete process of bringing a new product to market.
New product development is described in the literature as the transformation of a market opportunity into a product available for sale.
As an innovative engineering research and development company, Kunstel & Kikel works with a diverse client base ranging from the private sector to government agencies. Our research and development capabilities on new product development field include many levels of the engineering process. We provide services beginning at concept development, following up with research and analysis, and finishing with prototype design. Our specialised services include in-lab and in-field experimental design and data collection, statistical analysis, and product development; from research capabilities including human factors research to experimental design, and data analysis. Our technical expertise includes embedded programming, machine learning, circuit board design, and 3D modelling and 3D printing.
Our team of creative visionaries, comprised of designers, engineers, and technologists, work together to develop innovative machinery that influence change and enhance the lives of the end user. We specialize in human-computer interface technology and product development for mobile computing platforms and robotic systems for the advancement of health, communication, education, and defense.
We combine industry expertise with innovation to develop research-based software and hardware technologies that address human needs. We supply advanced product development and R&D services to industry leaders within the commercial and governmental sectors. We have extensive experience in basic and applied research and development related to military training, multimodal interfaces and feedback devices, mobile computing systems, haptic devices, human factors evaluations, and experimental design and testing.
Product development frameworks
Although product development is creative, the discipline requires a systematic approach to guide the processes that are required to get a new product to market. Within our work we provide guidance about selecting the best development framework for a new product or service. A framework helps structure the actual product development.
Some frameworks, like the fuzzy front end (FFE) approach, define what steps should be followed, but leave it up to the team to decide which order makes most sense for the specific product that is being developed. The five elements of FFE product development are:
Identification of design criteria - involves brainstorming possible new products. Once an idea has been identified as a prospective product, a more formal product development strategy can be applied.
Idea analysis - involves a closer evaluation of the product concept. Market research and concept studies are undertaken to determine if the idea is feasible or within a relevant business context to the company or to the consumer.
Concept genesis - involves turning an identified product opportunity into a tangible concept.
Prototyping - involves creating a rapid prototype for a product concept that has been determined to have business relevance and value. Prototyping in this front-end context means a "quick-and-dirty" model is created, rather than the refined product model that will be tested and marketed later on.
Product development - involves ensuring the concept has passed muster and has been determined to make business sense and have business value.
Other frameworks, like design thinking, have iterative steps that are designed to be followed in a particular order to promote creativity and collaboration. The five components of design thinking are:
Empathise -- Learn more about the problem from multiple perspectives.
Define -- Identify the scope and true nature of the problem.
Ideate -- Brainstorm solutions to the problem.
Prototype -- Weed out unworkable or impractical solutions.
Test -- Solicit feedback.
This composite new product development (NPD) framework for manufactured goods has eight important components:
Idea generation is the continuous and systematic quest for new product opportunities, including updating or changing an existing product.
Idea screening takes the less attractive, infeasible and unwanted product ideas out of the running. Unsuitable ideas should be determined through objective consideration.
Concept development and testing is vital. The internal, objective analysis of step two is replaced by customer opinion in this stage. The idea, or product concept at this point, must be tested on a true customer base. The testers' reactions can then be leveraged to adjust and further develop the concept according to the feedback.
Market strategy/business analysis is comprised of four P's, which are product, price, promotion and placement.
Product: The service or good that's been designed to satisfy the demand of a target audience.
Price: Pricing decisions affect everything; profit margins, supply and demand, and market strategy.
Promotion: The goals of promotion are to present the product to the target audience, increasing demand by doing so, and to illustrate the value of the product. Promotion includes advertisements, public relations and marketing campaigns.
Placement: The transaction may not occur on the web, but in today's digital economy, the customer is generally engaged and converted on the internet. Whether the product will be provided in bricks-and mortar or click-and mortar shops, or available through an omni channel approach, the optimal channel, or channels, for placement must be determined if the targeted potential customers are to become actual customers.
Feasibility analysis/study yields information that is critical to the product's success. It entails organising private groups that will test a beta version, or prototype, of the product, then evaluate the experience in a test panel. This feedback communicates the target market's level of interest and desired product features, as well as determines whether the product in development has the potential to be profitable, attainable and viable for the company, while satisfying a real demand from the target market.
Product technical design/Product development integrates the results of the feasibility analyses and feedback from beta tests from stage five into the product. This stage consists of turning that prototype or concept into a workable market offering; ironing out the technicalities of the product; and alerting and organising the departments involved with the product launch, such as research and development, finance, marketing, production or operations.
Test marketing, or market testing, differs from concept or beta testing in that the prototype product and whole proposed marketing plan, not individual segments, are evaluated. The goal of this stage is to validate the entire concept -- from marketing angle and message to packaging to advertising to distribution. By testing the entire package before launch, the company can vet the reception of the product before a full go-to-market investment is made.
Market entry/commercialisation is the stage in which the product is introduced to the target market. All the data obtained throughout the previous seven stages of this approach are used to produce, market and distribute the final product to and through the appropriate channels.
Product development is an always-evolving and fluid process, and just as some steps will change, depending on the nature of the project, so will the person who manages product development. In some organisations, there is a dedicated team that researches and tests new products, while some organisations may outsource their new product development to a design team. In midsize organisations, the product manager is often the person in charge of product development, and he or she may be part of the marketing team, while tech shops selling B2B products and services that have very technical requirements may have their product managers report to engineering. Regardless of what framework is used and who is in charge of new product development, the new part is just one aspect of the entire product lifecycle management.