SOLUTION: Technical Feasibility Studies During Early NPD
Performing technical feasibility studies on major product capabilities as early as possible in the development process is key to avoiding issues during NPD. Michael Keer, CEO of Product Realization Group (PRG), a company specializing in delivering outsourced NPDI consulting services, speaks about the importance of these studies. Keer notes: “Instead of saying: ‘we think this will work,’ PRG recommends that OEMs and ODMs design an experiment that will evaluate the concept against the product requirements to objectively determine whether it will work.” He adds that these types of feasibility studies can be performed quickly and often inexpensively. For electronics, the breadboard has been the accepted feasibility method for decades. With intelligent 3D CAD modeling and inexpensive 3D printing, mechanical engineering has similar options while software teams can utilize feasibility reports.
In all cases, the best practice for feasibility studies as part of overall requirements management is to cover various aspects of the capabilities—technical, operational, financial, legal, security—and identify risks and alternatives. Besides building confidence that the design concept meets the product requirements, feasibility studies often identify suitable materials technology and production processes to ensure the concept design can be manufactured and tested to meet projected volume and cost targets. This helps overcome production issues while ramping volume to meet customer demand for new product launches.