Developing a new product can be a costly or risky challenge. That’s why standardizing the project with a comprehensive product development process is essential. This helps creators avoid roadblocks, prepare for future inspection or testing demands, and ensure the product is moving in the most profitable direction.
The Product Development Process
Different types of products and services will have variations in their developmental processes. However, every process has a core focus on three key elements: measuring the financial value of the project, creating the product, and developing a marketing strategy. These five steps are essential to developing a successful product:
1. Identify the Market, Problem, and Solution
Products can’t exist in a vacuum. It’s essential to start the process by identifying gaps or inefficiencies in a current market space. Once you have identified an opportunity—an existing problem or shortcoming within a key target market—you can then develop a solution that addresses the problem and is appropriately tailored to the market.
2. Complete a Cost-Benefit Analysis
Not all products are worth developing—even if they solve a problem. Products that will require lengthy testing procedures and certification processes, such as pharmaceuticals, need to be carefully evaluated for their long-term profitability. Products that require high levels of initial investment to design and fabricate also need to be carefully assessed.
Every potential new product should be carefully analyzed to determine how much capital it requires to launch, the expected time to profitability, and the risks associated with investing in the product.
3. Do Market and Product Research
Research is a vital component of every product development process. Companies need to regularly monitor their competitors and the market to see if another solution has already reached target consumers or if the opportunity is no longer as profitable as it once was. It’s also important to measure the target market’s responsiveness to similar products and solutions to gauge likely adoption rates.
Developers must also perform initial product research. This includes confirming that the idea isn’t previously copyrighted, becoming familiar with certification or inspection demands, and more.
4. Test the Design, Virtual Models, and Physical Representations
During every step of development, new iterations of the design or product need to be tested. Research and product development agencies can help by creating virtual representations of products. These digital environments allow companies to test products against likely use conditions, environmental considerations, and potential user errors. Increasingly smart machines can identify flaws or areas for improvement in drawn designs before they even reach the prototyping stage.
Prototypes are still a vital component of the product development stage, however. Fabricating physical representations of the product allow companies to test the product in real conditions and discuss potential flaws based on the feel or ease of use of the product.
5. Prepare Your Marketing Strategy
During the entire course of product development, it’s important to be building a marketing strategy. Companies need to make potential consumers aware of the product, promote its benefits, and stir up demand for the product before it reaches the shelves. Proactively marketing the product ensures more purchases and a faster return on investment. It also allows the company to analyze market research to ensure the product is still viable in its current target market.
Learn more about all of The Hendey Group's unique product development services and how we can help bring your next project to life!
New products will often have different stages of physical prototyping to meet different needs of the project. For example, a demonstrative prototype can be showcased to investors, sample markets, and other groups that need to see a visual representation of the product. Many designers often create a pre-production prototype in advance of manufacturing that allows for testing.
Some prototypes may be experimental as different materials are tested, slight alterations to the design are incorporated, or prototypes are given to investors or testers. Sound product engineering may involve multiple rounds of prototyping and testing.
Fabrication and manufacturing companies can help in this area. Ultimately, prototyping is an essential part of the product development process. It allows developers to fine-tune designs and specifications and present a physical item to investors, potential business partners, market research groups, and more.
Tips for Creating a Successful Product
Consider these best practices when embarking on a new product development project:
Focus on solving problems, not just making changes. If improving a previous product or trying to enter a new market, look for substantive problems that require a solution. Making changes that don’t increase functionality or increase customer acceptance can be risky and unprofitable.
Always research the market. Markets are constantly changing. A problem identified at the start of the year may no longer exist or be relevant. Keep researching throughout the life of the project to make sure an appropriate solution is being developed and released at the right time.
Be clear about goals. Researching and designing a product can be a messy process. Designers often change their minds mid-process or identify more relevant pain points to address. While changing the project focus can happen, always refine the project goals to match the new changes.
Build out the team with experts. There are too many moving parts to handle them all alone. Find internal employees or hire external services that can help handle the product, the research, and marketing.
Engineering and Design Services from The Hendey Group
The Hendey Group provides a wide range of engineering, design, and product development services to help companies manage product improvements and new product lines. We focus on excellent product development and in-built automation to ensure your product idea has optimal functionality and market appeal. The Hendey Group’s services include:
Drawings communicate your ideas to investors and other team members on the project. Well-made drawings can also act as the foundation for your CAD/CAM plans during the prototype and product fabrication stages. The Hendey Group specializes in industrial design, engineering drawings, and physical and virtual illustrations. Our design services include simulations, hardware development, documentation, and more.
As you move from a virtual representation of your project to a physical model, you may need rapid prototyping services. The Hendey Group uses multiple fabricating and machining techniques to create a scale prototype of your product quickly. With rapid prototyping, you can have a test product in days—or even hours.
Manufacturing Engineering Services
Products need to meet industry-specific and general safety standards to be viable on the market. Manufacturing engineers can help you choose the right materials and design fail-safes for your product to make sure it’s safe, functional, and long-lived.
During every stage of the development process, we can incorporate improvements to your product with in-demand robotic programming, tooling design and build, and electrical design.
Your new product doesn’t just need to meet its core objective. It also needs to be easy to use, safe to handle, and relatively immune to user error. It also needs to provide a good user experience based on how it looks and feels. The Hendey Group’s engineering design services can help you create a product design with market appeal and good user experience principles.
Every project needs to be overseen and managed so the moving parts work together and on schedule. The Hendey Group’s project managers and consultants can help your team create a plan with set milestones and deadlines, oversee the execution of the steps, and measure the success of each task with established success criteria.
Each of these services works together to help ensure you’re creating a strong product with a great design that’s likely to be accepted by your target market.
Creating Your Next Product with The Hendey Group
Don’t wait for another company to capitalize on the problem you’ve identified. Start solving it with a product design plan that streamlines your next product’s testing and release.