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Posts Tagged ‘Product Development’

How to Improve Your Product Development Strategy

Running a small business or start-up can be exciting, even thrilling, work. You’re in charge of your own fate, you’re calling the shots, and the success you enjoy will be your home. There’s a reason small business owners are the most satisfied workers anywhere in the country. Of course, that doesn’t mean running a new business is easy, and there’s a whole lot you’ll need to stay on top of. Implementing a strong product development strategy will be a part of these many challenges. Product development is the process of creating new products or improving existing ones. A strong product development strategy is essential for any business that wants to stay competitive. What do you need to know about improving your product development strategy? Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know. 

Why Do You Need a Product Development Strategy? 

If you’re starting a new business, a new product development strategy is vital for several reasons. First, it helps you to focus your efforts. In today’s competitive market, it is not possible to develop every product that you might come up with. A product development strategy helps you identify the products that are most likely to be successful. This allows you to focus your resources on those products. Second, a product development strategy helps you to plan ahead. Product development takes time. It can take months or even years to bring a new product to market. A product development strategy helps you plan for the future and ensure you are ready to launch your products when the time is right. Last but not least, a product development strategy helps you to measure your progress. It is crucial to be able to track your product development progress and to make adjustments as needed. A product development strategy provides you with a framework for monitoring this progress. This can make it much easier to make decisions about your products.

Conducting Thorough and Useful Market Research

Before developing any new product, conducting some sort of market research is important. This research aims to understand your customers’ needs and preferences. This can involve surveys, focus groups, and other forms of market research. It is important to gather information on what customers want and what they are willing to pay for. By understanding your target market and their needs, you can develop products that meet those needs. This can create a competitive advantage for your business. This kind of research can help to answer a variety of essential questions for your business, including:

  • What are the needs of my target market?
  • What are my competitors doing?
  • What is the potential market for my product?
  • What price should I charge for my product?
  • How should I market my product?

Answering these questions will help bolster the success of your business in many ways. Market research can help companies to reduce the risk of developing products that are not successful. By understanding the needs of their target market, companies can create products that are more likely to be in demand. Market research can help companies to increase sales by identifying opportunities for growth. For example, market research can help companies to identify new markets for their products. Or, it can help to develop new products that meet the needs of their target market.

Collaborate with Cross-Functional Teams

Product development is a collaborative effort that involves various teams within an organization. Cross-functional collaboration can bring different perspectives and expertise to the product development process. For example, collaborating with sales and marketing teams can help ensure products are developed with the customer in mind and meet market demand. Similarly, collaborating with design and engineering teams? This can help ensure that products are developed efficiently and with high quality.

Test, Test, Test!

Product development is an iterative process. Testing and iterating your products can help you identify and resolve any issues or flaws before launching them in the market. Some ways to test and iterate your products include creating prototypes, conducting user testing, and performing A/B testing. Testing is vital in a product development strategy because it helps to ensure quality. Testing allows us to identify usability issues and gather feedback from users. It can also help to measure the product’s performance and identify potential risks. Testing helps to ensure that the product is free of defects and meets the required quality standards. This can help avoid costly recalls and repairs later on that could really carve into your bottom line. Testing can also help identify usability issues with the product, such as confusing controls or unclear instructions. This can help to improve the user experience and make the product more user-friendly. Last but not least, consistent testing can help to identify potential risks with the product. These risks could be things such as security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues. This can help to avoid costly problems down the road. These benefits will help you save money and lessen risk as you prepare a product for the market. The more testing you can do ahead of an official release, the better your product will become. That’s why you should ensure that testing is a big part of your overall product development strategy.

Consider Outsourcing Manufacturing

Of course, your product development strategy isn’t just about the development of the product itself but also how and where the product is made. Many businesses these days are outsourcing to China when it comes to their warehousing and distribution. Product assembly can be a costly part of the product creation process, and it makes sense to explore options that can help to keep these costs as low as possible. Outsourcing to a low-cost country can help companies to save money on labor costs. In addition, these outsourced providers can help companies access specialized skills that they do not have in-house. If you’re not familiar with the product development process, outsourcing to another company who is also might speed up the overall process. This can help your product creation process to be a whole lot more efficient. Depending on what you’re able to do on your own, outsourcing even might help to create a more quality product. The benefits of outsourcing will depend on various factors specific to your business. You’ll need to do your own research and determine if it’s the right choice for you. 

Don’t Get Too Ambitious

When it comes to product development, it’s essential to focus on quality over quantity. Trying to develop too many products at once can spread your resources thin and lead to mediocre results. Instead, it’s better to commit to a few well-thought-out ideas and give them your full attention. There are a few reasons why it’s crucial to hew in your ambition as a product developer. First, it allows you to focus. When you’re working on multiple products at once, it’s challenging to give each one the attention it needs. This can lead to missed deadlines, poor quality, and, ultimately, a lack of success. Honing in on just a few ideas allows you to be more strategic. When you’re not spread too thin, you can take the time to carefully consider your target market and what they need. You can also develop a more comprehensive marketing plan and launch your products with more impact. You’ll also be able to better learn from your mistakes if you keep your plate clear. When you’re not constantly launching new products, you have more time to collect data and feedback. This can help you to improve your product development process and make better decisions in the future. If you’re serious about product development, it’s crucial to commit to only a few ideas at a time. By focusing your resources and being strategic, you can increase your overall chances of success.

Always Keep the Customer in Mind

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and it’s essential to keep their needs in mind during product development. By understanding what customers want and need, companies can create products that are more likely to be successful. By focusing on customer needs, you can develop products that meet their needs and preferences, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. Your market research, as we discussed before, will be the beginning of keeping the customer in mind. Put elbow grease in to determine the problems your customers face and how you can best solve them. The earlier you can get your customers involved in your product development strategy, the better off your product will ultimately be. While developing your strategy, think about at which points in the process you can get customers involved. You may even want to consider creating some sort of customer advisory panel, to which you can show prototypes and bring in feedback. Consider this process a way of keeping the ultimate end goal in mind. Here, if you end up heading in a direction your customers don’t like, you’ll know early on. This can help you change courses before you get too far down any one road.

Keeping an Eye on the Competition

Your product development strategy should also keep your competition in mind. Especially if you’re in the business start-up world, the environment in which you and your products are entering is constantly changing. If you’re not keeping up to date with what your competitors are doing, you could release a product that no longer feels aligned with the current environment and atmosphere. What your customers may be accustomed to, prefer, or tire of will be based in many ways on what businesses similar to your own do. It’s absolutely essential that you keep in the loop with what’s going on in your industry in this way.By keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, you can also identify new opportunities for your business.For example, if you see that a competitor is launching a new product in a market that you’re not currently in, you may want to consider expanding into that market yourself.

Keep a Long-Term View

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of launching a new product, but it’s important to remember that the work doesn’t stop there. A successful product development strategy must also consider what happens after the launch of the product. In other words, you’ll need to maintain a long-term view when it comes to your products if you want to be successful. A product development strategy that doesn’t consider the product’s life after launch risks neglecting critical factors such as customer satisfaction, ongoing product development, and evolving market trends. By considering the product’s longer lifecycle, product developers can develop a roadmap for product updates, enhancements, and improvements. They can also devise a plan to monitor customer feedback and make the necessary changes to the product. This can all help to improve the product’s overall performance. By planning for life after launch, product developers can increase their chances of building successful, sustainable products that continue to meet customer needs and preferences over time.

Improve Your Product Development Strategy

If you’re running a new business, it’s vital that you take the time to master the art of product development. Coming up with a product development strategy that will serve your business can be more complex than it sounds, but the above advice can help out a lot. Have more questions about mastering product development and assembly? Looking for more helpful resources? Give us a call anytime for more.

5 Reasons New Product Development Fails in China

New product development is not an easy task, especially for those without experience in dealing with overseas new product development and manufacturing.

It may seem trivial at first if one of these unfortunate events takes place, such as months of delay, high defective rates, increased cost overruns that don’t match initial planning and other obstacles that come up at the last minute which could lead to disastrous results if they’re not dealt with quickly and efficiently enough.

In this article, we’ll explore what can go wrong with new product development in China and how you can prevent your costly mistakes from occurring.

1. Expectations Don’t Match the Reality

The first hurdle for the new product development process in China is your expectations don’t meet reality.

Product development and manufacturing in China are complicated processes so understanding what to expect from these processes beforehand can help manage your expectations correctly.

It’s important to work with an experienced Chinese Product Development Company that can offer reasonable estimates for the costs and timelines of your project so that you are prepared before production begins. If not dealt with properly, it becomes easy to make mistakes such as ordering too many products or neglecting orders altogether – leading to either excess inventory at hand or no merchandise available at all.

2. Communication Breakdown

A major factor in product development failure is a communication breakdown between you and your new product development supplier.

If you don’t provide enough information about what you need or don’t understand what the supplier is telling them, problems will inevitably arise.

The lack of communication can lead to additional delays and costly mistakes being made. There are three main ways that communication breaks down during the new product development process.

Firstly, if you don’t know how to articulate your requirements and standards, your supplier won’t be able to effectively manufacture your products.

Secondly, some overseas clients often don’t know how to accurately interpret feedback from their suppliers and vice versa, which could end up in poor product quality

Thirdly, it could be that there is no clear understanding of who has the final say when making key decisions about the project at hand. In these cases, product manufacturing problems tend to come out later, as changes cannot be made quickly enough.

To avoid these types of problems, careful translation is necessary and frequent communication should take place between you and your supplier to ensure understanding. Also, both parties should be responsible for taking swift action to figure out what went wrong with the failed process before other problems arise. Communication should be frequent and thorough to prevent potential misunderstandings before they become problematic.

3. Design Issues

Designers may make mistakes during the process of designing a new product, or the manufacturing company in China may misinterpret the design specifications.

For example, if you’ve designed a toy that is supposed to be round, but the manufacturer misinterprets this as a square and cuts it on its side instead of top to bottom, it will not turn out as desired.

There are also language barriers that can lead to issues with the design. Many terms for a round do not refer to the same object (circular, spherical), which can confuse. The phrase “I want two circles one centimeter apart” could be translated as “two semicircles or two full circles”, depending on what terminology is being used.

If a design cannot be executed as planned, it is important to have a contingency plan. It is important to know when to cut your losses and redesign the product rather than pushing ahead with something that won’t work.

4. Poor Quality Control Processes

Poor quality control processes can result in many serious problems in the new product development process, making it more difficult to your production deadlines, resulting in canceled orders, and negative reviews of your product.

Defective products may also lead to higher customer returns due to units that have not been properly inspected before they are shipped. All these will negatively impact your business’s bottom line and reputation.

So, quality inspection should be done with special attention to prevent the inclusion of defective or non-conforming goods in shipments. Of course, getting product quality right from the start and ensuring it meets your expectations and standards will save time, money, and frustrations later.

5. Wrong Product Development Supplier for your project

Suppliers of product development services will vary in terms of costs, scales, qualities, expertise, and capabilities. It is important to determine these factors when selecting a China-based supplier for product development needs.

If you are in search of an experienced manufacturer for electronic goods when your supplier only specializes in the manufacture of home appliances, then it would be wise not to work with them due to a lack of capacity which will ultimately lead to delay or cost overruns.

Many factors contribute to product development failure in China, some of which can be controlled and some that are completely out of your control. You need to understand these factors so you can better manage them and hopefully prevent them from happening again in the future.

If you’re seeking a company to fill all your new product development needs, look no further than Shield Works. We are a British-owned and managed company specializing in providing dependable product development and precision manufacturing services. We take pride in creating quality products with consistent processes to guarantee both quality and consistency every time, so you never have to worry about anything going wrong during this process. Start your journey by reaching out today for more information and see how we can make sure that the process goes smoothly.

Is Product Development in China Up to Snuff?

Product development in China has earned itself a reputation as one of the most innovative nations in the world. But just how good are the products that come out of China? Are they up to snuff? Some business owners find themselves questioning the value of outsourcing their product development needs to China, so let’s take a look at how the country stacks up against others when it comes to producing products that meet global standards.

It is still a good idea to outsource product development to China

The idea of outsourcing product development to China may seem strange to many. Most engineers and product developers assume that manufacturing abroad only applies to sourcing parts from other countries, but there are many advantages to having your invention made in China. Chinese companies, for example, often provide ready-made factories, so you don’t have to worry about setting up the factory space before production begins. The biggest benefit of outsourcing product development is the cost savings. there are generally cheaper manufacturing costs in Asian countries than in Western ones, which allows startups to take risks they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

With years of development, China is able to produce quality products that meet international standards. Engineers and product developers think outsourcing manufacturing to China is a risky decision, since they are concerned about the quality of the products. American brands are realizing, however, how reliable Chinese companies can be as more use them for their projects.

Get off to a good start

Working with a partner who has impeccable standards and experience is the best way to avoid quality issues in the future. In spite of the numerous problems that can arise when making products abroad, you’ll want someone on your team who can spot these problems before they snowball. Working with an experienced partner will help you avoid major setbacks, whether it’s minor translation errors or hardware problems. Know what aspects of your product or business could cause problems. When unsure of anything regarding your production process, consult an expert or do some research.

For example, if you’re using a new material or technology for your product, it’s critical to know how that material will interact with other components. Whether you’re making a hard drive, an electronic device, or anything else that contains moving parts and circuits, you need someone who knows how these things work together. This can help you avoid quality issues that may arise later during production when pieces are put together in different locations around the world.

How long it takes

From preparing a prototype and testing it, to finding materials and ordering samples, bringing an idea to life can take up to six months on average. Consequently, product development timelines are dependent on various factors such as the creation of a custom mold instead of a mass-produced mold or production in China. This could result in significant changes in the timeline, depending on your design and goal. What will the timeline be for receiving your samples? It will vary based on what type of shipping you select. Ordering standard delivery is good for packages to reach you in two weeks or less; order express shipping and you’ll receive your package in one week.

But with COVID and geopolitics, everything still remains more or less unclear. It’s important to have an adaptable mindset.

How much you should invest prototyping

Getting prototypes made is often a great way to see how your product will look (and feel) and how durable it will be. It’s also worth taking into account the fact that prototypes have varying prices. If you are looking for low-cost prototyping solutions such as 3D printing, get quotes from multiple suppliers. Injection-molded parts can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Many manufacturers don’t charge their first-time clients much for printouts if cooperative desire is demonstrated.

It’s also important to consider how many products you will make. If you’re only going for one prototype, that might not be a bad place to start. But if you are trying to test multiple variables or aspects of your product idea, investing in several iterations could make sense. (For example, if you want both male and female feedback on a product before going into production.)

How to make sure you don’t get ripped off

Although you may be hesitant to send money to a company you don’t know, most clients choose to have an agreement in writing before making any payments. The agreement should include timelines for delivery, agreements for delayed shipping and detailed specifications. If you’re worried about your contract being followed to the letter, hire a lawyer who works in this area, or find a partner that has experience making goods in China. That way you can rest assured that there will be no mix-ups, you’ll get exactly what you wanted, and there’ll be less chances for headaches.

If you don’t have time to vet a partner thoroughly before entrusting your project to them, you could run into some problems, but investing your time up front into researching reputable ones will solve the majority of potential issues. From the UK and with a 17-year history in product development, Shield Works definitely understands your language. Give us a call and find out more!

Common Mistakes Companies Make With Outsourced Product Development

Did you know that 66% of companies with more than 50 employees outsource at least one of their business functions?

If you want to bring in a third party to perform a service for you, you might be interested in outsourcing product development.

Outsourcing this function can be a great way to get your products to market quickly. But it’s important to ensure you do it correctly. Mishandling the process can lead to costly disasters, including business stoppages.

Understanding the common mistakes with outsourced product development will be a good place to start. So read on to learn about some of the most common pitfalls you should avoid when outsourcing product development. 

Not Defining the Project Scope Upfront

When outsourcing product development, it’s important to develop a clear and concise scope of work.

The last thing you want is ambiguity around what your outsourcing partner needs to deliver. Ambiguity can lead to frustration on both sides and could even result in abandoning the project altogether.

Make sure you have a solid understanding of what you need the partner to deliver and that you communicate it to the outsourcing partner upfront.

Clarity will ensure that both parties are on the same page from the outset and will avoid any misunderstandings further down the line.

Not Conducting Due Diligence

You’ll be making a mistake if you choose an outsourcing partner without knowing about their capabilities. Start by researching the company and its track record. Ensure the partner has the experience and expertise necessary to deliver on your project.

For example, if you’re outsourcing to China, you’ll want to check that the company has experience with China’s product development. Your China manufacturing partner should also be transparent and dependable so you can get answers whenever you need them.

Failing to do this due diligence can lead you to choose a partner that doesn’t have the necessary skills and experience. You’ll experience significant delays, and cost overruns as the inexperienced partners try to get up to speed on the project.

It’s also important to visit their facilities and meet with their team to better understand their processes and culture.

Not Having a Backup Plan

You might make the mistake of thinking that you’re safe working with a single outsourcing partner. After all, it can be tempting to put all your eggs in one basket. Relying on a single vendor can be risky.

Your outsourcing partner can go out of business or experience other difficulties. In such cases, you may find yourself without a product and a way to get your project back on track. That’s why it’s vital to have a backup plan in place.

This might mean working with multiple vendors or keeping some internal staff on hand to pick up the slack if needed. The goal is to ensure that someone can step in and take charge if your outsourced product development team is not meeting expectations.

A contingency plan will ensure you’re meeting your customers’ expectations even during unexpected difficulties.

Not Protecting Your Intellectual Property

It’s likely to ignore protecting your IP rights when outsourcing product development. Without adequate protection, someone might steal or copy your intellectual property. Such actions will prevent you from reaping the benefits of your investment.

You might be unaware of the risks until it’s too late. You can avoid this mistake by having strong contracts that clearly define who owns the intellectual property. The contract should also state the protections that exist. 

You should also consider using nondisclosure agreements to protect your trade secrets. Such agreements will ensure that any IP created as part of the project remains your property and is not transferred to the outsourcing partner. You’ll protect your IP if you terminate the outsourcing relationship.

Not Being Prepared for Culture Clashes

Outsourcing product development to another country can lead to cultural clashes. There can be a difference in working styles, communication styles, and even values.

For instance, suppose you’re a western company outsourcing development to China. There will be a significant difference in how both cultures conduct business.

Chinese culture may place a higher emphasis on relationships. Your western culture is likely to be more results-oriented.

It’s important to be aware of such differences and make allowances for them. If possible, try to have someone on your team familiar with the outsourcing country’s culture.

You should also have clear communication channels and establish agreed-upon working hours. This will help to minimize misunderstandings and enable you to work more effectively. An understanding of cultures will also prevent disruptions to the project.

Failing to Manage the Relationship

Outsourcing product development is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. Once you’ve chosen a vendor, you need to manage the relationship. You should set clear expectations, communicate often, and monitor progress.

Many companies make the mistake of outsourcing and then forgetting about the project. This can lead to big problems down the road. You’re more likely to end up with a subpar product if you don’t invest in a good relationship with your partner.

You should be proactive and involved in the project. You should set clear milestones and expectations at the outset. It’s also vital to maintain regular communication with the outsourcing partner. 

Stay on Top of Common Pitfalls with Outsourced Product Development

Outsourcing product development can be a great way to save time and money. But it’s important to avoid these common mistakes if you want to ensure a successful outcome. By being aware of common mistakes with outsourced product development, you can set your project up for success.

If you’re considering outsourcing development to China, consider having Shield Works as your outsourcing partner. We have 17 years of experience in product development in China, which makes us confident that we can guarantee you 100% satisfaction.

Contact us today to discuss your project.