New Product Introduction (NPI)
New Product Introduction (NPI) is the complete process of bringing a product to market. A well defined and managed NPI process can reduce development cost, increase profitability and extend product life cycle. It also provides management visibility into the product development pipeline. Since NPI is so intertwined with other product development processes, its adoption and execution significantly influences your potential for success.
The success of NPI process is a strict adherence to sequence of steps. Each of these process steps are dependent on the preceding and intertwined steps. Hence, market research and product/project requirement definition are key to the overall success of product development.
NPI process management requires diplomacy and the ability to organize, coordinate and engage diverse functional groups and personalities into a cohesive team. Meyers Associates provides the complete NPI program, conducting market research, defining product & project requirements, coordinating engineering development with QA testing and managing Beta Testing & product launch. We offer our knowledge and tenured business guidance.
The NPI process steps are outlined below.
• Concept Definition
The concept definition is the a proposal that identifies a potential product's functionality, performance and market. It's premise is customers will prefer products that have better quality, performance and features as opposed to a normal product. It can be further defined as the understanding of the dynamics of products and markets in order to capitalize on both.
• Investigation & Market Research
Market Research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets, customers or competition. It is a very important component of business strategy. The term is commonly interchanged with marketing research; however marketing research is concerned specifically about marketing processes, while market research is concerned specifically with markets.
• Define Product & Project Requirements
Product requirement document (PRD) identifies a products functionality, performance and price and address the engineering aspects/concerns. Project requirements address the overall development project including schedule, resource allocation and cost. Definition the project requirements is paramount; lack of definition is the leading cause of project failure.
Product & Project requirements should be addressed from marketing, engineering and manufacturing perspectives. A NPI project requirement check list example is provided for reference.
• Product Engineering & Development
Product engineering & development is the process of designing and developing a device, assembly or system, including hardware and control software/firmware, that will be produced by a manufacturing process. Product engineering usually entails activity dealing with issues of performance, cost, quality/reliability, manufacturability, serviceability and environmental impact. It includes design, development and transitioning to manufacturing of the product.
• Qualification Testing
Qualification testing is intertwined with engineering development process to assure a reliable product in an efficient manner. Quality testing is performed as early as possible on each product design element to minimize potential problems in the final Qualification tests. Qualification testing addresses operational environment, electromagnetic and safety requirements.
• Beta Testing
Beta testing is the practice of the manufacturer allowing a group of potential users/customers to test pre-production samples in their own facility. The Beta test group provides feedback to the manufacturer on product performance and insights on possible improvements.
• First Article Qualification (Pilot Run)
First article qualification is the limited production of a product, process, or piece of equipment on a simulated factory basis allowing for the refinement of processing steps, leading to a better product to the customer, lower manufacturing costs, more efficient factory operations, and earlier introduction of the product.
• Release to Production
Release to production is the formal transfer of product fabrication responsibility from engineering to manufacturing. All all product support documentation, including PRD, BOM, assembly drawings, software sheets and test procedures are provided to manufacturing. Document Control is implemented.
• Product Launch
Product Launch is a process to build sales momentum. A successful product launch includes product planning; internal communications; and execution across a launch team comprised of people from broad disciplines and requires a detailed plan to insure success.