New product introduction or, as it is more generally referred to, new product development is the process involved in bringing any new product into being and then launched onto the market. So it is more than simply designing and then developing the product itself, it involves defining the market for the product, testing the market, bringing the product to the commercial market and advertising it and so on.
It is therefore a very complex process, which can usually be separated into two separate areas.
The first strand involves the product itself, the second involves the commercialisation of the product. However, it is important to note that the two strands intertwine and can happen simultaneously at times. There is a cross over at times because the design and technical issues will often be happening when the market analysis is being conducted.
Ideas and Light bulb Moments: Initial Stages
The idea for a new product is the very first stage of introducing any product. Someone has to think about it, which can either be a result of analysis and research, or it can be a ‘light bulb’ idea, where the designer suddenly realises that a product is required.
Once the idea is generated, then there is usually some kind of market analysis to ascertain if there is indeed a market for the product and if so, is it worth developing it?
It is also necessary to look at whether or not there are any similar products on the market that could threaten the development of this new item.
Design and Development
The design of the product needs to be carefully undertaken to ensure that it costs the absolute minimum but is fit for purpose and of sufficient quality. The production costs of the item also need to be broken down; how much will each item cost, can it be produced more cost effectively etc?
This process will also involve the financial feasibility of the product and whether or not it is worth bringing to market. If the decision is taken that it is, then production will proceed; if not, then the product will go no further!
The viability of the product needs to be examined by a process known as the business analysis, to ascertain how much the product should sell for and how must it will cost.
Once prototypes have been worked up, then market testing can begin as focus groups, customer discussions or even testing the product at a trade show. This is an important part of the process because it involves listening to the customers and whether or not they would actually buy the item and think that it is of any worth!
If the prototype is to go ahead, then production needs to be planned. This will involve procurement, logistics, quality management tools, costing, pricing and so on. This should even involve a contingency plan to ensure that when something goes wrong (as it will) there will be some kind of Plan B to rely on.
Meanwhile those in marketing and advertising will be planning the launch of the product and raising its profile as soon as it is on the market.
Launching The Product
The product is then launched on the market. But this is not the end of the matter- after the launch of the product a review has to be undertaken to ensure that the product is still viable and that it has met sales targets.
In fact the review will also look at all the costs involved in bringing the product to market and whether budgets were met, if the price of the product is right and so on.
Introducing a new product to the market sounds really easy; in reality it is anything but!