Movies and television like to portray the “Eureka!” moment – where an inventor comes up with a brilliant idea and becomes an overnight success. Of course, we know that in reality, the product development process is much more complicated and challenging.
In today’s competitive market, the success or failure of an idea is often influenced by its new product introduction (NPI) program (also called new product development). This encompasses all the steps that are planned and executed to develop, refine, and bring a new product to market.
The right new product introduction plan can deliver an array of benefits, including:
- A better understanding of the market and target audience
- Improved product quality and durability
- Lower overall development cost
- Enhanced risk management plan
- Quick speed to market
- Improved manufacturability
Why Cross-Functional NPI is Important
While every company and industry are unique, one thing that most successful new product introduction programs have in common is collaboration. The responsibilities of bringing a product to market should not fall solely on one team or department. Everyone from product managers to engineers to procurement needs to be on the same page and pulling in the same direction.
It’s also important to remember that new product introduction isn’t always a linear path. Some steps may be happening concurrently or are influenced by others – making communication and teamwork especially important.
Steps of NPI – And How Contract Manufacturing Can Contribute
As part of a cross-functional new product introduction team, a contract manufacturer can provide immense value at all stages of the process.
- Define: What are we trying to make?
- Design specifications support– Work closely with your internal team to provide design and engineering consulting
- Risk assessment– Include manufacturing in your comprehensive risk management analysis
- Material specifications – Based on your specifications and design, material options and recommendations can be provided, sourcing from leading material suppliers
- Feasibility: Is this possible and does it make business sense?
- Design for manufacturability support– Early planning to scale from development to production
- Technical feasibility– Recommend and test custom printing and converting techniques
- Options testing– Evaluating multiple materials and components to identify the optimal version
- Develop: How can we make and refine it?
- Prototyping– Accelerate testing with high-quality, functional prototypes, or multiple versions in a single run
- Validation plan – Establish protocol that fulfills both internal QA and compliance requirements
- Validate: Did it work, and where can we improve?
- Prototype analysis– Evaluate and improve prototype until desired outcomes are achieved
- Manufacturing process validation– Test to make sure the final production plan is effective and efficient
- Implement: How do we scale and release it to the market?
- First-production run– Set up and manage the pilot launch of the product
- Refine manufacturing– Fine-tune processes before engaging in full-scale production
- Evaluate: Was it successful and what could we do differently in the future?
- Review process performance – Explore continuous improvement of manufacturing processes
- Documentation of processes– Maintain consistency and ensure regulatory compliance
- Customer feedback– Work with internal teams to refine product quality or respond to market demands
Choosing a Contract Manufacturing Partner
Integrating a contract manufacturer into your new product introduction program can improve your chances for success by developing a high-quality product with the right timeline and cost. At Tapecon, we have a proven track record supporting OEMs with materials expertise and a wide range of printing and custom material converting capabilities.
Get Started with New Product Introduction Support
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our new product introduction service.