Wouldn’t it be great if developing a new product came with all the rewards of being an innovator, and zero of the downsides? Unfortunately, there are always risks associated with manufacturing – and this is especially true for new products.
In this article, we’ll highlight six of the most common risks you may encounter during new product development. More importantly, we’ll explain how you can identify, minimize, and potentially even avoid some of these risks and get your product to market quickly.
Risk management benefits of a new product introduction plan
One strategy for mitigating risks throughout the development process is implementing and following a new product introduction (NPI) plan. Comprised of six critical steps, the NPI plan details the process of designing and producing a new product. To be successful, NPI must be cross-functional to enable collaboration among the entire team, including product managers, engineers, purchasers, vendors, and more.
One of the benefits of a strategically sound and well-executed NPI plan is enhanced risk management. As you’ll see, the steps of NPI cover many of the common risks that can arise between ideation and full-scale production.
Risks during new product development
- Technology risks – When incorporating new technology in a product, there’s a chance your team may have blind spots or lack specific capabilities that could cause roadblocks during development.
Where NPI comes in: Bringing in outside experts, such as an advanced manufacturing partner, can fill in knowledge gaps and add capabilities to your project team.
- Performance risks – The function and reliability of the product in real-world conditions are always unknown until it’s built and can be tested. However, any performance issue late in the game can be a major setback.
Where NPI comes in: During the Develop and Validate steps, functional prototyping and testing are conducted to confirm the product works as intended.
- Market risks – Success of a new product can come down to several external factors, including customer sentiment, economic conditions, and unforeseen circumstances (a certain pandemic comes to mind). Often, timing is critical when introducing an innovative product into the market. Too early and customers may not fully understand or appreciate the technology; too late and your competitors will already be established as market leaders.
Where NPI comes in: Market research is critical to understand the customer’s needs and wants. The first step of NPI is to define the product requirements to align with the conclusions from the market research.
- Organization risks – Internal conflict can stall or undermine any new product development initiative. Often, human resources are one of the biggest capability question marks on a project.
Where NPI comes in: The Define and Feasibility steps can identify any capacity issues and ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
- Supply chain risks – Sourcing materials or components from vendors can reduce costs and internal workloads, but it also makes your product vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. There’s always the possibility that a supplier can’t meet its contractual obligations.
Where NPI comes in: During material selection, you can vet suppliers for not just price but also reliability. Also, since the plan encourages cross-department communication, your entire team will stay updated on supply chain issues and make quicker decisions.
- Financial risk – Certain stakeholders will be keeping an eye on the finances to make sure the project is a good investment. Restricted access to capital or arising issues that put the project over budget can prevent a new product from crossing the development finish line.
Where NPI comes in: The right plan can lower overall development costs, accelerate speed to market, and enhance manufacturability – all things that can benefit the bottom line.
Set your NPI up for success with a manufacturing partner
Having an NPI and manufacturing partner won’t make risk magically disappear – but it puts you in a much better position to mitigate the risks outlined above.
As a highly experienced advanced manufacturing partner, Tapecon seamlessly integrates into your NPI plan and can serve as a design consultant and sounding board throughout the development process. From expert materials selection to functional prototyping to printing and custom converting, we can help bring your new product idea to life while keeping an eye on manufacturability of the final design.
Let’s make something great
With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our new product introduction support services.