Product Development Process

Turning a product conception into a physical and marketable product requires an efficient plan. New product development (NPD) has many moving parts—design, prototyping, sourcing, and marketing strategy and research, among others—but each helps ensure a well-made product with a valid target market. The Hendey Group provides project management, design assistance, product engineering, and prototyping services to assist with new product development projects.

new product development

Developing a Successful New Product

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.