In today’s competitive world, the
success of a new product is determined by fulfilling the customer’s need and
requirements. As a product design director in an electro-mechanical industry,
it is highly significant to bring out a new product to survive in the market. The
key drivers of innovation are Technological advancement, Changing Customer
needs, Product Life-cycles and World Competition
(Robert.G.Cooper, 2001). A
concept should be created which should fill the gap with deep market research
in the electro-mechanical sector. The process from concept to delivery of a new
product development is a tough and complex task, in order to triumph in the market. The new idea or concept generated have
to tackle a number of practical difficulties in terms of technical, shape,
size, adaptability, cost, lead-time etc to a finished product which will meet
expectations. Since the competition in the market is getting close-packed there
should be a more structured new product introduction approach such as the ‘Stage-Gate Process’. The ‘Stage-Gate Process’ which is discovered by
Robert. G. Cooper; is a conceptual and working model of effective New Product
Development (NPD) (Gronlund, et al., 2010).
The structure of the Stage-Gate process
is a result of substantial examination on the successful companies on how the
NPD task is done.
The Development Management of an NPD could
be done integrating technical and developmental processes with respect to time,
resources, and quality (Bruce.T.Barkley, 2007). Project Management
tools are used for development of the product to the market.
The business perspective, sales, marketing and
the type of production are chosen by the project management tools and
methodologies. The various drawbacks of the product are analyzed and according to that business strategy is developed.
When a new product is coming to a
market, it should create a change or replacement of the existing system which
saves time, money and increase in productivity. Further on, NPD with stage-gate
process in product design and development management with the Project
management tools are discussed.
2.The Stage-Gate Process for NPD
innovation process which breaks into a set of stages where each stage is a set
of prescribed, cross-functional and parallel activities (Robert.G.Cooper, 2001). A five-stage five-gate model with
Discovery and Post-Launch Review are the main elements of the stage-gate model.
The innovation process is disintegrated into a set of activities which control
the process and passes on with the required quality checks and further moves to
the checkpoints which gives decision of go or kill is decided.
Stage-Gate Process given above in the figure (1) are divided into discrete
stages which is designed to collect information for the project process towards
the decision point. The ideas and pre-work designed to discover opportunities.
Every gate serves quality control checkpoints and prioritized decision points.
structure of each gate consists of Deliverables, Criteria and output. The proposal is checked with the
current market that would fit the business strategy. The expectations are drawn
in the deliverables section. The proposed project undergoing the environmental,
health and safety criteria are taken into consideration to turn out a quality
product. The output of the gate is a decision that would be approved or killed
to the next stage.
1.1 Gate 1: Idea Screen
The Idea screen is the first gate to
screen and commit the project. The project is generated after this Gate 1
point. If the project moves into examination or the Scoping Stage. The criteria
of the Gate1 ‘should meet and must meet’ the discovery process. The criteria
deal with strategic alignment, project feasibility, magnitude of opportunity
and market attractiveness, product advantage, ability to leverage the company
resources and policies. The Idea screen is clearly mentioned in the figure 2
Idea Screen checklist, two methods
criteria divided into Should-meet model and Must-meet models are created
according to the project idea. The should meet model could be used to help
focus the discussion and ranking of the projects are done. The must-meet criteria are created with a checklist
with a point rating scales. There are also Yes/No questionnaire format is
followed. The basic questions are
Proposal fit with the market or technology area?
Market Size, growth?
Product could be developed and manufactured?
Legal, Environmental, Issues?
start of the project, ideas are reviewed
by a set of people who are higher officials including technical and business
departments. The project getting ‘Yes’ to the following questions mentioned
above would lead to the next process and Gate2. If the Gate1 didn’t pass (If
answer is No) the project may lead to rework or kill the project idea. After the Gate1 pass, it moves on to the Stage1 process.
Scoping given above in figure (2), is a primary stage in which a preliminary
market research is actuated with the help of the library research, journals,
Internet Research and the customer who requires it for their purpose etc. This
stage 1 could also actuate some surveys and feedbacks to make a record and
improvise according to the preferences of the customer. The purpose of scoping
is to understand and determine the market potential, size and acceptance.
next step in scoping with the technical feasibility. How far the project idea
could be turned into a relevant and practical design which could be
manufactured into the product. Sometimes the hundred percent idea couldn’t
achieve technical and practical feasibility.
gathering of market and technical information from the overview of the project
idea is done in very short span within a month almost, and very low cost which
are usually handled by a team involved within the NPD.
1.3 Gate 2: Second Screen
The Gate 2
Second Screen shown in Figure (3) is the second step in the Stage Gate Process.
The project from Scoping has to pass the Gate 2 with much more regulations to
pass with much more extended aspects.
The Gate 2 has to undergo a set of original ‘must-meet and should-meet’ criteria models used at the Gate
Gate 2, it will deal with the sales team
and finds out the response of customers with NPD launching. The data of
technical, political and regulatory aspects are taken into a checklist of
scoring chart. The financial aspect such as Investment, Machineries, Space,
Payback period are calculated briefly. The
Gate 2 passes on to the Stage 2.
1.4 Stage 2: Building the Business Case
product development phase is created in the Stage 2 as given above in figure
(3) with actual Business case established regarding the sector. Prior to the
investment a clear product specification and output is well-defined with
content to hit the market. A high-level pre-work is required in this stage 2
bring out the efficient product and business to the organisation. The actual
market study is conducted over here to ensure the need and requirements. The
portrayal of product concept, target customers, standards proposition for
creating a value and the expected budgeting is done with the keen market study.
An analysis done with the market competitors to avoid the design clash with
suitable patents, copyrights, design rights. A customer survey feedback is
obtained to turn out the new product providing the features in a reasonable
manner. The Quality based procedures are followed according to the target
customers. The Financial Analysis with the NPD for space, Machines, technology,
raw materials, lead-time, break-even period etc are strongly considered in the
reports to pass the project on the next Gate 3.
1.5 Gate 3: Go to Development
Gate 3 as given below in figure (4) is the checkpoint before it could go to the
Development Stage 3. The Gate 3 is the review of the Business Case study
carried out with the substantial methods and significant aspects. The
investment of organisations is reviewed clearly with Go to Development Gate, if
the product fails with the target customer it will draw a huge loss. The plan
regarding the marketing, sales and promotion and its expenditure are reviewed
with a set of higher officials. The approvals from the Gate 3 will lead to the
Development stage where the execution is performed.
1.6 Stage 3: Development
In the Stage 3 given in the figure 4 above
moves towards the Development stage (Robert.G.Cooper,
1990). The detailed design is made out with the available resources and
a prototype product is created to the working condition. The checking of need
and purpose are taken into consideration. Then comprehensive assessment,
marketing and operations planning are conducted about the new product. An
additional design or operational dilemmas are found out and fixed with best
practice of the product. The updated manufacturing cost are also considered to
the budget. The design is confirmed with the new version and design rights,
patent, copyrights paper works are done. Testing of product is again conducted.
After this process, the reports of product testing move on to the Gate 4.
1.7 Gate 4: Go to Testing
Gate 4 Testing figure (5) given below checks the Stage 3 to ensure the product
undergoes Testing process. The design quality is
checked for reporting the advancement in the NPD. The concept, financial,
quality are the main factors to confirms the safety with the data analysis. The
innovative new product is ready for Testing and Validation.
1.8 Stage 4: Testing & Validation
Stage 4 give above in figure (5) the financial analysis, customer acceptance,
production process of the project is considered with regard to Testing &
Validation. These processes are done according to the organisational approach.
The organisation may give testing to an external company which are focused on
this process. Based on the reports validation and the maximum and minimum
values are forwarded to the actual specification for the legal and product
documentation. The accurate data would be thoroughly checked and updated with
documents for good volume of production further on. Some multi-national
companies will have enough equipment’s for testing and quality assurance
departments will approve according to the output and criteria. The testing and
validation move on to the Gate 5.
1.9 Gate 5: Go to Launch
final Gate 5 Go to Launch given below figure (6) the door to entire
commercialization of the product to the launch. This gate 5 checks the
financial return on the product when it hits the market place and some
assumptions are drawn with the customer the expected sales, operational, site
plan and the market places. The Testing & Validation values are checked
with the scoring chart or point scale the board draws a review before launch
whether it is approved or reject. This is the last possible gate to reject the
The Stage 5 Launch is shown above
in figure (6) is the final stage where the execution of marketing plan which is
suitable for the product. Certain companies have their own policy about the
fund allowance for the New Product Development marketing plan. The unique
design, key features, running mechanism, size, simplicity and efficient in power,
safety are the some of the key drivers for the marketing plan. The operational
plan will setup by the supplier availability, lead-time, IT, machine resources
to bring the New product readily available. Training from the NPD departments
are required for the most efficient form of manufacturing. The time to market
is a factor be the market leaders in this product. Consequently, proposal of
the most appropriate plan for minimum term of three years are usually adopted,
according to the plan machine proposal is installed and plan the capacity. The
strategy is designed with demand of the New Product. The Launch stage is then
subjected to Post-Launch Review.
Post-Launch Review (Pilar Carbonell, 2004)
give above on figure (6) gives a clear idea about the last stage where the NPD department
has to record in the documents. The release of a new product initially takes
time to hit the market. The new product should be commercialized, and it turns
to the steady product category. The product performance is reviewed with the
Voice of the Customer (VOC) and market response. The most updated cost,
maintenance, expenses are calculated at Post Launch review after the launch to
audit the outcome. For an NPD it is good to have a structured approach than the
unorganised methods. With the complexity and the product specifications the criteria
and some processes of the stages changes with the product output and market need.
for New Product Development (NPD)
The Project Management is significant in an organization
for the time and cost management along with the quality assured output (Pons, 2008).