Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. What the Best Performing Manufacturers Do - 1 The Right People, the Right Environment and Simultaneous / Concurrent Engineering Product Development Essentials for Engineers

What the Best Performing Manufacturers Do - 1
The Right People, the Right Environment and Simultaneous/Concurrent Engineering

Product Development Essentials for Engineers

The Right People and the Right Environment

The business of practically managing the product development process often works best when driven by someone or a team who have a responsibility and a vested interest in making it succeed. In addition, ideally some experience and knowledge of commercial product development is beneficial. This may sound obvious, but the fact of the matter is product development is a commercially risky business, often requiring considerable resource and investment before you see any tangible benefits. Having an individual or group to drive the process can significantly reduce the risk. Reasons for his include:

  • They have an incentive to succeed if this a core part of their role.
  • Experience enables them to coach and encourage others through the process.
  • Past-knowledge is vital to overcome issues and keeping others’ morale high.

Having said this, the information provided in this section should give you a very good grounding to undertake the process. In addition, it’s probably worth investing further effort in research and training to ensure new product development principles can be successfully applied and tailored to your unique business situation. Importantly, an open mind and the willingness to try something new, different to normal company business, is important.

Avoid cynics and negative influences. Instead try to encourage a can-do attitude and innovative environment, conducive to product development. After all, the most successful manufacturers, large and small, thrive on innovation and encouraging ideas from all to feed into a well-oiled product development process.

Key Factors for Product Development Success

Each business is unique and so the ideal product development process for you will also be unique (in the same way no two manufacturing set-ups will be the same). However there are a number of factors or principles to include which increase the likelihood of product development success. By reviewing businesses that routinely succeed during product development, it is possible to recommend a range of guiding principles.

The good news is many of these factors have been built into the advice featured in the ‘Product Development Process and Stages’ section. However in addition to these, the following points are highly recommended.

Simultaneous/Concurrent Engineering

The stages of the development process are often depicted as a linear set of tasks – in fact that is how they appear in the ‘Product Development Process and Stages’ section. This makes them easier and more logical to follow and explain. However the reality is activities can overlap, with some stages starting early and aspects of others running at the same time. This is crucial to shorten the overall product development cycle-time.

In addition, tasks may loop back to earlier stages. In short, be flexible in your approach. Adopt a proactive team-orientated outlook, where staff from different departments work together. Move at pace were possible. Don’t get hung up on precise process details. The earlier you can get a good quality, fit for purpose product to market, the more profitable it will be. As such, aim to minimise the length of the product development process through concurrent engineering.

Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent Engineering Explained  

Proven Strategies to Fuel Your Design Team from SOLIDWORKS

Concurrent Engineering During product development 

Next... What the Best Performing Manufacturers Do: How to Successfully Managing Product Development 2

Back to Product Development Essentials 

When was the last time your business developed a NEW product? ...Or is 'Product Development' too far removed from your core Production Engineering activities?

Does your firm have a clear product development process, with a number of new products released to date? ...Or alternatively, do you think bread and butter production engineering is really what matters? Tell us about your product development experiences...

Share your story...and receive a FREE copy of our report 'Helping Your Manufacturing Business Thrive'...

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