Successful new product development is key to a healthy manufacturing business, but typically only about 30% of products launched onto the market actually deliver the returns that were expected of them.
So I want to take you through the 5 top mistakes which I see made time after time again, not just by small and medium sized manufacturers, but large global players as well. The difference is that the global players tend to be able to ride out their mistakes and disguise them more easily than organisations with less cash to throw away.
So here they are:
1. Failing to have a strategic plan for the future
New product development is all about creating the future. Designers and engineers work in the future all the time, so it makes sense that if the designers and engineers are to have a place to aim for, then there needs to be a strategic plan which will lead the way for future product developments.
2. Developing a product where the technology is not ready for launch
Using new technology is always a good way to keep the competition at bay, but if the technology is not fully developed or even if it is well established but new to your company, then it is likely to be high risk. There are so many things that can go wrong in these situations and they will, more often than not, result in the project going significantly over budget and missing the intended launch date.
3. Over-estimating the sales volumes
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new project or idea, but it is essential to remain objective at the early stages in order to ensure that the right resources are spent on the most appropriate opportunities. Over estimating the sales volumes can be more dangerous than under estimating them.
4. Developing a product for wrong market time
Products are often developed in response to the demands of the current market. However, unless the product development process is very fast, it is likely that the market will be demanding different products by the time your product has reached the market.
5. Trying to be all things for all people
This is normally brought about by manufacturers who really don’t understand their market well enough to be able to segment and target specific market groups. Adding features simply because competitors have them is rarely a good idea and typically features do not always translate into customer benefits anyway.
Perhaps you recognise some of these errors from past projects, but have a look at your new products which are currently undergoing development and check that you are not making the same mistakes again.
Enjoy the opportunity!