Achieving both strategic and operational vision in product development and engineering today is extraordinarily difficult but it can be done. Product development organizations are under constant pressure to generate more big ideas with the potential to be the next big market-makers and to do so while accelerating time to value, increasing profitability, reducing costs, and navigating an ever-changing landscape of compliance regulations.
While new processes and technology will streamline requirements and protocols, we know that analytical excellence alone is unlikely to shift people’s behavior or underlying causes for the disparity.
Crayon’s approach depends on genuine collaboration and empowerment to unlock real value for our clients. Our practitioners bring significant experience to engagements, having worked with complex organizations across a wide range of industries to deliver transformational projects that drive business value. Leveraging the broad resources of Crayon, we provide end-to-end services globally, including strategy development, process design, and implementation, organizational change and redesign, and technology implementation.
Product Development Services
A 360º View
Crayon’s Product Development practice offers 360º services across various service lines to address our clients’ strategic and operational challenges.
Product and R&D strategy
Identify key business levers which will drive growth & value through the merchandise lifecycle
Product development effectivenes
Optimize business processes to improve time to market, quality and return on development
Product lifecycle management enablemen
Maximize your business value through the enablement of leading PLM technologies
R&D organization & talent
Lead your organization through change and establish a sustainable operating model to draw in and develop R&D talent
Potential bottom-line benefits
- Reduce engineering and product costs
- Decrease time to realize the value
- Improve engineering efficiency and effectiveness
- Manage regulatory compliance
- Address talent and global organizational needs
The first, and the most important, thing you need when developing a new product is good ideas. You need a complete range of relevant skills. As well as the technical skills involved in developing the product, these include:
- market research skills to ensure that your product meets customer demands;
- design skills for the product and its packaging;
- purchasing and production skills;
- financial skills for budgeting, costing, and pricing.
You may need to involve people from outside your business for some of these skills. For example, it’s common for businesses to use external designers. Make sure you keep the property rights, so a designer can’t continue to take advantage of what they’ve developed for you.
Finally, you need to commit sufficient resources to the project in terms of time and money. A personal commitment to the success of the project is important to drive it forward.
Mostly new products are improvements on existing products. Although improving an existing product might seem to have less potential than developing a completely new one, it is often enough to give you a competitive edge in a proven market.
If you’ll find how to beat a pain point that customers experience together with your current offering, this might open up an entirely new market.
You could try to:
- find a way to cut the price of your product, without a compromise on quality;
- improve the materials used to make your product more appealing or durable;
- create a ‘budget’ of your product;
- redesign the packaging to make it recyclable, or reduce breakages in transit.
Improving existing products is usually easier and less risky than developing completely new ideas. You are likely to possess a far better understanding of the technologies involved and customer preferences for that sort of product. The development process is typically less complex, requires less investment, and maybe completed more quickly.
With any new product, there’s a risk that you simply might not produce what customers want. This risk is usually higher when new product ideas have supported the supply of the latest technologies or your own inspiration, instead of being customer-led.
So it’s a good idea to aim to solve a customer problem or improve customer experience, rather than merely rehash existing products.
During the development process, you may need to overcome technical hurdles. There is also likely to be a range of other operational risks: for example, ensuring that you have a secure supply of reliable components.
Finally, there’s the financial risk if your new product doesn’t generate sufficient demand at a price that’s profitable. Bear in mind that sales income will cover the value of development which you’ll incur additional marketing costs to stimulate demand for your new product.
Wherever possible, look for evidence that you are working along the right lines. Market research can help make sure that there’s sufficient customer demand, that you simply are meeting customer requirements, which you set the proper price. It can also be a good idea to produce a prototype.
If your innovation is ground-breaking then research might not help, because there might be no in comparison to measure your idea against. Also, customers may not be able to visualize how a completely new innovation might help them solve a problem if they haven’t considered it to be a problem until now.
You will get to use careful marketing to make sure consumers understand an innovative product’s benefits. In some cases, the new product may not see success for some time, until there is a critical mass of consumers who clearly understand why they should buy it.
In some instances, it may not be worth being the first to market with a completely new idea. Similarly, you might be better off designing a new product to use existing components: even if new components might make an even better product, they also increase the risk.
An over-ambitious project may fail, either because it is technically too complex or because it requires a level of resource that you cannot afford or that isn’t justified by the likely returns. In cases like this, it’s worth considering whether a less ambitious project would be more likely to succeed.
Even if you manage to develop a new product, you will only be successful if the product is profitable. This is less likely to happen if:
you operate during a market where customers resist paying a big price premium for brand spanking new products; your customer base is small and you find it difficult to reach new customers; it’s easy for competitors to copy your new product.