Product Development

In today's competitive global marketplace, product development capabilities are integral to the success of all types of manufacturing organizations. For a market-based or technology-based product to succeed, its design needs to be tested, technology-savvy and integrated with the customer's requirement. The estimated pricing of the product is also an important factor. The pricing of the product will be dependent upon factors such as value engineering and automated manufacturing equipment. The time-to-market factor, which involves the implementation of modular designs, resource allocation and logistics, is also another crucial factor.

Product development could mean the creation of a brand new idea or product and it can also mean that an existing product has been improved or changed in some way. Before the product development phases are put into action it must be determined if there is a sufficient market place for the product. You have to identify what the market is and if the product can be built at a cost that will realize a profit. If a product is deemed to have a market, then it is usually tested on a small sample of consumers to see how they react to the product. A marketing strategy also has to be put into place as the product will have to be marketed and promoted properly.

Any product lifecycle involves three phases of development including the discovery phase, the development phase and the commercial phase. The discovery phase identifies the market opportunities and matches it to the customer's concerns and the resultant benefits. It involves conceptualizing the desired product and ends with the creation of the product specifications document. The development phase converts the product specifications into designs and processes that create the commercial end product. Resource management is crucial to the development phase along with engineering and process design expertise.

The commercial phase introduces the product into the consumer market and it aims at realizing its financial goals. At this stage the product needs to be promoted and distributed according to the marketing plan. The phase culminates when the product completes its lifecycle and needs to be either revived or restored with a new product, where the product development cycle starts afresh.

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