Tools To Manage Risk in New Product Development

Imagine this scenario: You’re a project manager in the Engineering department of a manufacturing company. You have a couple successful new product projects under your belt, and feeling confident. You’re proficient using Microsoft® Project and have an opportunity to manage the company’s next big, high-profile project. After a team meeting to kick off the project, you create a detailed Gantt chart. After all, that’s what you have used in the past, what could go wrong?  Continue reading

How Risk Impacts New Product Development

The only way to avoid risk in new product development is to never develop any new products. For most companies, that is not an option since new products are, or should be, an important growth driver.  Understanding, managing and mitigating risk, therefore, is inherent in innovation.  Continue reading

Manufactured Products and the Power of Simple Thinking

Those employed in manufacturing companies spend much of their time thinking about the product. The features, benefits, specifications, cost structure. The production process and how to improve it. How the product compares to the competition, its design and ease-of-use. These factors drive new product and process innovation.  Continue reading

The Biggest Challenge in Product Innovation May Surprise You

Ask senior executives at manufacturing firms what their biggest challenge is managing new product innovation and you might hear answers such as lack of creative thinking, development teams need to work harder, or maybe that the organization does not have the right skill sets. The truth might surprise you: consistently year-in and year-out, the single biggest pain point in managing product innovation is too many projects for available development resources.  Continue reading

Process or Vision: What’s More Important for Product Innovation Success?

right-left-brainListen closely and you realize there is a lively debate between those who believe process is most important in innovation and others who contend that vision and creativity are what leads to success. The truth is that both are equally important and organizations interested in improving their ability to innovate must do both well.  Continue reading

The Dirty Little Secret: It’s Not About Your Product

BlindersManufacturing firms tend to focus on their products. In fact, we often fall in love with them. It consumes most of our time at work, and for many in the business, much of their time away from the office as well. We celebrate big orders and naively assume the good times will last forever. Elaborate marketing campaigns tout the benefits of our product vs. competitive offerings. We obsess on how to continually improve the product to out-do our competition. So what’s the problem, you ask?  Continue reading

Software Development Challenges for Traditionally Hardware Oriented Manufacturing Companies

softwareFor manufacturing companies software is an increasingly important aspect of their product’s value proposition. From consumer to industrial products, nearly every industry is affected. Incorporating software presents greater challenges to companies whose products have traditionally been hardware oriented. Continue reading

Small to Mid-Sized Manufacturing Firms: Unique Innovation Challenges

If you operate a small to mid-sized manufacturing enterprise (SME), how are you going to grow revenue and earnings? Every company relies on organic growth of their core products. For most that is typically not enough to sustain the business long term. Geographic expansion and acquisitions can help in some circumstances but long-term, a company must innovate or the business will stagnate and be eclipsed by competitive forces. This is especially true in today’s hyper-competitive environment (1).  Continue reading

A 5-Step Approach to Reduce Time-to-Market

faster

Getting products to market faster is a common objective for every company. While the motivation varies, there are clear benefits including capturing more sales, beating competition to market, providing market flexibility and maintaining a leadership position. Reducing time-to-market can also be a focal point for improving the overall innovation management process (1).  Continue reading

Ignoring the Role of Innovation: A Disturbing Trend?

There are many paths to grow a company’s revenue and earnings. That topic typically consumes the majority of management bandwidth. Organic market growth, geographic expansion and acquisitions are all viable strategies. But are you ignoring the role of innovation? Surprisingly, a recent survey suggests many are.  Continue reading