Advancement in technology can be seen as an evil necessity. While new processes, methods and tools make our life easier, they also aggravate the risk factor and increase the chances of failure. Innovation process-expert Robert Cooper shows that of every seven new product/service projects, about four enter development, 1.5 are launched, and only one succeeds. Product failures are difficult to control indeed but some measures can definitely be taken or certain precautions adopted that can effectively help the manufacturer.
|Photo Courtesy: innovationmanagement.se|
Here are 7 such ways in which you can tighten the screw around product failures,
1. Build momentum for your project right from the beginning: You must take the onus of driving urgency for your product manufacture from the onset. Otherwise it will not be taken seriously and nobody would be ready to step outside the box when time calls for it. If this does not work, encourage other managers to explore the rapidly changing work environment and wait until they get nervous. This should lead them to prioritize product manufacture.
2. Start your product manufacture project with a clear and concrete product assignment: This makes the top management from the beginning to be precise about the market/target group for which the product is being developed and enables them to decide on the criteria the concepts surrounding the product should meet. This acts as a great guideline underway.
3. Get the help of a team; do not rely on yourself alone: It is highly advisable to use a team approach to yield better results and internal supporters for the product outcomes. Keep the floor open to invite opinions from people for whom the product is personally relevant; invite others to get their buy-in on content related as well as managerial decisions. In this context, it is always better to have a healthy mix of people from all genders, age groups and so on.
4. Avoid having overtly enthusiastic managers on the team: Product manufacturing is a difficult job. It not only requires the enthusiasm and energy of the younger lot, but also great deal of experience and calm which only seasoned manufacturers can bring on the table. Make sure you get top officials and people on senior managerial positions on the manufacturing team. Let them be a part of the manufacturing process itself as much as possible instead of being mere observers.
5. Use a structured approach: While thinking outside the box is a good start, you ultimately have to come back with innovative concepts, which go along with the reality of your organization. A structured approach enables one to fit everything into place and minimise the risk of confusion. It will also help to create a similar approach and shared rhetoric among your team.
6. Usability testing always helps to increase the satisfaction quotient of the customers: Usability testing includes a range of techniques that reveal how well the product performs and where it stands from a very important perspective: the customers’
At its very core, usability testing is an opportunity to observe target customers using your product to perform specific tasks that can validate product assumptions, provide valuable feedback, or identify potential pain points or enhancements. After several tests, you’ll notice usage patterns and comments about what works and what doesn’t. This is vital information that will enable the manufacturer to fine-tune the product and increase its value in the eyes of the customers.
7. Determine the approach best suited for your product: Production of industrial products can be divided into two approaches: the operations vs. market approach. The operations approach is based on internal controls and an internal perspective. Some of these approaches are based on the methods of Lean Manufacturing emphasising on core team design, project planning, specifications etc.
The marketing approach is focused more on the external influences of new product development – customer needs, the market, competition, and a realistic sales forecast.
If you are able to determine which approach will help develop your product, the chances of failure can be minimised.
Product failure can be a harsh reality to come to terms with. For every manufacturer, it is a difficult blow. However, with some degree of precaution and some good judgement it can be contained.
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