Tackling the Challenges of New Product Development

On the surface, bringing a new product to market appears to be a simple concept: Identify a need in the marketplace and then create a product to fulfill said need. The significance of new product development cannot be understated. An article in Product Development and Design Magazine names these as the three chief reasons Why Product Development Is Important.

  1. New value for customers
  2. Improved society
  3. Continued existence of the company

It’s the last one that keeps CEOs, engineers, and salespeople alike up at night.  Bringing a new product to market and launching it successfully is frequently long and arduous. There are a number of things that can go wrong at any point.  These include everything from regulatory compliance to the transition to manufacturing. Being proactive can help avoid falling into these traps.  The article 3 Key Struggles of New Product Development and How to Overcome Them from Design News  examines issues that may occur early in the process and closer to launch.

Since bringing new products to market is one of Sparton’s primary functions, we turned to a few of our experts for their advice on this vital topic.

Mike Scheidnes a Design Engineering Manager at Sparton’s new product incubator in Plymouth, MN, advised the following: “Always plan ahead- not just for prototypes, but what is the plan to get the new device manufactured and into the field?  New product teams need to try to be as flexible as possible: plan for unexpected feedback from customer trials, EMC, and safety issues, and tough questions from regulatory bodies.”

Jahnavi Lokre, Business Unit Director for Sparton’s design facility in Irvine, CA, added:  “Know that there is a need – do the market research to verify the product meets an unmet need and that the market size/demand is real. Too often I see the “If you build it, they will come” thought process. Know what you want – have a good idea of what your product will look like, and then separate features into “must-haves” and “nice to haves”.  Make sure it works first – identify, experiment and iterate on the most difficult/risky parts before spending time and money on the easy/cosmetic features.”

From Sparton’s software design center in Pittsford, NY, Business Unit Director Jim Janicki contributed: “Learn as much as you can about how the end-user will use the new product and provide as much detail to the product development team as possible throughout the development lifecycle.  This involves getting feedback from early mockups and prototypes made during the development lifecycle.”

Finally, an article on new product development wouldn’t be complete without a quote from the innovator Henry Ford.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

So with that source of inspiration and all of your development challenges behind you, the world awaits your next creation.

If you’ve got some advice on how to overcome the typical snares associated with this complex process, please enter them into the comments section below.


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