Assessing the feasibility of a new product

PRODUCT LAUNCH PROCESS

DRM Associates

2002 DRM Associates

DRM Associates
Product Launch Page
Product Development Forum
NPD Body of Knowledge

Introduction

Once a product is developed, effectively product launch becomes the critical step to its success. The Product Launch Process must address all the steps necessary to start volume production, plan and execute marketing activities, develop needed documentation, train sales and support personnel (internal and external), fill channels, and prepare to install and support the product. Product Launch activities are described in more detail in our Product Launch page.

Benefits

An improved product launch process results in faster time-to-market and time-to-profit. Activities are better planned and coordinated and more tightly integrated. System data requirements are better understood, and systems may be better integrated. he result is better production ramp-up, more effective marketing, a sales force better prepared to begin selling the new product, and a service and support group better able to service and support th new product, leading to greater customer acceptance.

Our Approach

We can assist in fine-tuning and improving the product launch process by performing the following activities.

  1. Review current product launch process. Identify needed activities, deliverables and system requirements (inputs and outputs). Determine organizational responsibilities and interfaces. Identify issues and goals. Our Product Development and Best Practices Assessment provides a framework for this review. Activities covered in our review include:
    • Testing, qualification and certification
    • Pilot production and process prove-out
    • Forecasting and ERP set-up
    • Vendor qualification
    • Product and service manuals
    • Package design
    • Marketing and advertising program design and execution
    • Market testing
    • Sales and distribution planning
    • Sales, support and service training
    • Spare parts planning and logistics
  2. Develop improved process. Based on understanding the current process and process goals, we would work with a team of your people to develop an improved process. The process improvements would be defined in terms of activities, process outputs or deliverables, responsibilities, and gate review and design review (e.g., production readiness review, etc.) requirements. Our PD-Trak tools may provide an improved means to document and control this process.
  3. Integrate organization. In addition to identifying and improved process flow and activity definition, we have found that a common problem is the need for improved organizational integration within the product team responsible for development. We would determine responsibilities, identify organizational impediments, suggest changes, and facilitate team launch activities.
  4. Determine system integration requirements. Product data management (PDM) system tools provide a repository for product data during development. As a product moves into production, much of this data needs to be made available to Manufacturing and systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Our expertise with PDM and ERP, enables us to identify how and when data should be established in an ERP system and consider any system integration opportunities. We can also address opportunities to move from a more limited PDM system to a broader Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system approach. In addition, technical data needs to be used to create product documentation, marketing materials, sales and support training materials with technical publications and authoring systems. Our working relationship with the Time-to- Performance Group provides the expertise to evaluate and improve technical and marketing document management systems.
  5. Develop plan templates. Based on the revised process and organization approach, we would develop a standard launch planning approach and planning templates using tools such as PD-Trak, MS Word and MS Project.
  6. Deploy improved process and tools. After these improved processes and tools were developed, we would begin by piloting them on a new product about to be launched. This approach would prove-out the process and tools, gathering valuable experience, and identify any issues that need to be addressed or improved before full deployment. Once the pilot was satisfactorily completed, we would develop a plan for full deployment, provide required training, and, if desired, manage the implementation of the new process.
  7. Develop product launch plans. We can also assist with developing product launch plans through either facilitating discussions or developing draft plans for review. We can provide marketing and advertising experts from our associated firms to help in those areas as well.