Once a new product development project has been specified and the brief established, a large part of the marketing task will be concerned with progressing the project from design to production. Usually there will be some schedule drawn up for this programme, whether a basic Design to Production Schedule or elaborate Gant charts and other planning tools, all of which should include not just the technical activities, but also the marketing ones as well.
There are many views on how this is approached, whether as a series of
sequential activities or as an integrated simultaneous engineering exercise.
Some industries are further advanced in these techniques than others. But
however organised there will be certain milestones which will lead towards the
Milestones in the R&D phase could be initial feasibility
study, prototyping, type testing and may be some market testing. There are
mixed views about keeping the concept completely under wraps until it is
launched and in soliciting market input at formative stages in the design and
Moving into production through tooling, planning and
pre-production stages is when much of the launch programme needs to be planned
and produced. In today’s competitive market place the launch programme will be
committed before any pre-production products roll off the line, so prototypes
may have to be creatively used in the launch material. But not only are
physical examples needed for such things as photography and demonstratation,
but also test data is required to support the product at launch.
It is amazing
how companies still forget this essential need and launch a new product without
any means to sell and support it. One useful technique is to draw up well in
advance a New Product Check List to detail the activities that are required and
the timings. It is also important not to launch the product if you cannot
fulfill orders. Some major new product failures can be attributed to products
that didn’t work, because they weren’t really ready and products that got
everyone excited, but couldn’t be delivered.