Product Development

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Abstract

This paper will discuss the generic product development process. The product development process represents the basic sequence of steps or activities that a firm employs to conceive, design, and bring a product to market (Jacobs & Chase, 2011). The process consists of six phases. Many of the phases involve intellectual activities rather than physical activities. Many firms use the generic product development process but others have more defined and precise process geared towards their functions and products.

The product development process is essential to all business. Product development is the process of designing, creating, and marketing an idea or project. The process goes through a continuous sequence of stages that should be completed in order for the project to be a success. Some firms define and follow precise and detailed development process, while others have no idea what their processes are. The textbook describes a generic product development process that consists of six phases. The six phases are planning, concept development, system-level design, detail design, testing and refinement, and production ramp-up.

The process begins with a planning phase. This phase is often referred to as “phase zero”. It is called phase zero because it precedes the project approval and launches the actual product development process. The planning phase begins with the corporate strategy and includes the assessment of technology developments and market objectives. The main output of the planning phase is the project’s mission statement. This is essential because it outlines the target market of the product, business goals, key assumptions and constraint of the project.

The mission statement is the key concept in beginning the first phase of the product development process-concept development. The textbook defines a concept as being a description of the form, function, and features of a product. During the concept development phase the needs of the target market are identified. The team also determines and evaluates alternative product concepts. After all concepts are discussed the team then selects one or more concepts are selected for further development and testing.

Oftentimes this phase is called idea generation. For example, at Merck and Company, concept development is known as idea generation. This phase is usually the result of the identification of a sociological, epidemic, pandemic or common need (Merck & Co Research, n.d.). The next step they take is to develop solutions to specific illnesses or conditions which lead them to the next phase of the product development process-the system level design phase.

System level design is the second phase in the product development process. From a design viewpoint, this phase includes the generation of alternative product architectures. This includes defining the major subsystems and interfaces of the project which lead to the final assembly scheme for the production system. From the marketing viewpoint, this phase develops a plan for product options and extended product family. It also sets target sale price points. The most important outputs of this phase are the geometric layout, a functional specification of the subsystems and a preliminary process flow diagram for the final assembly process.

The inputs for phase III are derived from the outputs from phase II. One of your first steps of creating a new product is gathering data and information that will be evaluated as a product. Corporations develop products based on consumer requirements that are translated into a product need and requirement. Having a clear understanding of what customer demands are and being focused reduces time to figure out how you will develop a market plan. During this phase the design and development team will complete all of the specifications for the final product....
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