How product teams contribute to new product introduction (NPI) success
While a lot of the big-picture questions like how much do we expect to make from this product are VP or executive-level questions, a successful new product introduction (NPI) process is something everyone in the organization should help drive.
Here are some things engineering, operations, sales, and marketing teams should consider during the NPI process.
Has the operations team considered:
- How to kick off/manage the various production phases (prototype, pilot, production)
- The supply chain strategy—are you consigned, turnkey, hybrid, or ”appliance” manufacturing?
- Contract manufacturer (CM) selection: Will your CMs operate locally or offshore, and should you go with an ODM?
- Production strategy: Will you build-to-order or build-to-forecast?
- The time required for the quality assurance process
- Your production capacity requirements and plans for expansion
- The finished goods (FG) warehouse and distribution plans
- Field service and cost of repairs
- Other cost reduction opportunities
Has engineering taken the time to discuss:
- The NPI process (gates, deliverables, approvals)
- Product lifecycle management and engineering design change processes
- Part numbering processes and schemes
- Design Verification Testing (DVT)/QA
- Product Reliability testing (HALT)
- Test specifications and other document control practices
- Available diagnostics
- Special test equipment
- Feedback loops
Has sales and marketing thought about:
- Sales channels—will you use a direct model, or work with distributors or partners?
- Sales regions—there are different considerations if you’re selling domestically than there are if you’d like to expand your customer base to Europe, China, India or Brazil)
- Standard order ARO requirements
- Terms and conditions
- Stock Keeping Units (SKU’s)—how many do you need to have available?
- Sales forecast process
- Customer warranty—how will you manage returns and spares?
- Compliance (UL, FCC, RoHS, REACH, WEEE, FDA, ISO, ITAR, EAR)
- Software delivery scheme (CD, website access)
And for every department, it’s important to make sure the right business systems are in place
In particular, the following systems make it much easier to manage the new product introduction process:
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)—for design and manufacturing documents, BOM and change management and compliance
- Quality Management System (QMS) – to drive product development, quality process, regulatory compliance, and commercialization success
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)—for purchasing, inventory, order administration, and finance
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—for sales forecasting and customer orders, pipeline management, RMAs, return rates, customer case history, and warranty entitlement
To learn more about new product introduction (NPI)
If you’re interested in learning more about new product introduction best practices, read our Best Practices for NPD and NPI Success white paper to learn how to break down barriers to product innovation.