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Product Idea & Specification
What is the need that the new product will meet? Do you want to build a better mouse trap? What features would make a mouse trap better? This process begins with an undefined feeling that “We need something” and develops it until it crystallizes as “We need something that does….” The more clearly the objectives for the new product are defined, the more likely you will be of succeeding in its development.
These questions may be market-driven or they may be business-driven. Your marketing staff knows your customers’ needs. acumen works with your staff to “flesh out” the undefined feeling until the product has a clear set of objectives. This process may be limited to a structured discussion with key marketing people or may involve more extensive research such as focus groups, dealer and customer interviews, and analysis of competitor’s product lines.
Perhaps you need new products to level seasonal variations in production or simply to expand your business. Business-driven product developments require a different set of objectives, they must be compatible with your existing production processes and distribution system while addressing a need that is outside your current business area. Our experience in manufacturing gives us unique insights into your processes and distribution. We facilitate interchange between production and marketing departments while we bring a broad range of “out of the box” options to the table.
In the end, the process gels as a set of objectives for the product. These objectives include the essential function(s) and likely customer of the product as well as rough price points, production costs and constraints regarding production process and distribution. This list of objectives lead directly to the next step, Product Specification.
The product specification is, possibly the most important step in the development process. It is a document that spells out everything the product must do, a detailed expansion of the Product Idea. It lists measurable or observable features that provide the yardstick by which the success of the product will be measured. The product specification document is a vehicle for reaching consensus among the parties (marketing, engineering, production, management) interested in the new product. Only by clearly specifying the product can we ever determine that we have achieved our goal.
acumen serves two roles, those of translator and referee, when we assist you to develop a product specification. Early in every product development effort, we work with your marketing staff to translate the features and user interface objectives into engineering terms that will become the technical objectives for the program. We draft the specification document and review it with your engineering and manufacturing staff to ensure that it is both comprehensive and achievable.
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