Product Development is the practice of executing the People, Process, Technology, Machines and Materials necessary to bring a new idea to market. Product Development supports innovation. Generally speaking, the more efficient and streamlined your Product Development System is, the higher probability you will have for producing innovative products. The development of new products and processes is more important than ever to U.S. competitiveness.
Product Development is comprised of three stages - Discovery, Development, and Commercialization.
This first phase is primarily about Discovery. It covers the entire process of searching for and identifying opportunities, whether market-based or technology based, and all of the planning and strategy to accomplish this. It requires the identification of customer needs, problems, and benefits, and the conceptual features that are envisioned for the products it wishes to build. It ends with the publication of a formal product specifications document.
The second phase is primarily about realization. It covers the entire process of converting specifications into designs - whether for an individual product or a complete portfolio of products - and all of the processes to accomplish this. It usually requires detailed resource management, creative engineering and process design capabilities, and sophisticated information technology. It ends when the products or services achieve their first commercial availability.
This third phase is primarily about fulfillment. It covers the entire process of new product introduction and the organization's management of its product and service portfolio as it attempts to fulfill its financial potential. It ends when the products or services have reached the end of their useful lifecycle and are considered to be candidates for retirement, renewal, and regeneration. At this stage, the process begins anew with the undertaking of a new product development initiative, and a return to the Discovery Phase.
The above definitions are taken from the Product Development and Management Association's (PDMA) Body of Knowledge. For more in-depth information about each of the phases, please visit www.pdma.org
Product Development spans several different professions such as research, marketing, design, engineering, manufacturing and sales. It is a very complex process whose tasks are distributed between many people and companies that are often not in the same geographical location.
During the last two decades, product information has been digitized. CAD (Computer Assisted Design), CAM (Computer Assisted Machining) and CAE (Computer Assisted Engineering) software create an enormous amount of digital information during the Product Development Process. This software Technology is now a necessity in order to participate in an efficient Product Development Process. The volume of digital information and the dislocation of Product Development Teams makes Product Development even more challenging.
With the adoption of Broadband, geographical teams now have the ability to exchange the large volume of digital Product Development information. The software Technology is now also available to help companies manage and visualize this information. Most importantly, companies also now have the ability to easily collaborate via new software Technology and the internet.
All of this new technology presents an enormous potential for increased productivity. Although, before implementing new technology, a company must first understand and document their Product Development Process to ensure the technology is implemented correctly. Purchasing Technology without thinking through the architecture of your Product Development System will not result in optimum efficiency.
The Productivity Project primarily focuses on the Development Phase (from specification sheet to product realization) of the Product Development process. Our objective is to provide clients with an integrated Product Development System that is integral, interoperable and utilizes an internet infrastructure.
Integral - Designed to work together as one cohesive system with no redundant, overlapping, or conflicting modules.
Interoperable - An open system that integrates easily with other enterprise systems at the boundaries of Product Development.
Internet - Utilize an Internet infrastructure that deploys seamlessly across both the enterprise and the broader digital product value chain.
Our objective is stated in the fourth mission of The Innovation Machine:
4) Provide our clients with an integrated Product Development System that is integral, interoperable, and utilizes an internet infrastructure.