Introduction

A company has to be good at developing new products, without products there would be no customers. Without customers, there would be no revenue. Developing a new product is a major activity. Thomas Alva Edison, with as many as 1,300 inventions and 1100 patents to his credit ,said about the product development process,” Genius is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration,” Product development requires more of perspiration and less of genius to be successful. The company also must manage them in the face of changing tastes, technologies and competitions. Every product seems to go through a life cycle—it is born. Goes through several phases, and eventually dies as newer products come along that better serve the consumers needs.

The product life cycle presents two major challenges:

  • First, because all products eventually decline, the firm must find new products to replace aging ones (the problem of product development).
  • Second, the firm must understand how the products age and adapt its marketing strategies as product pass through life cycle stages (the problem of product life-cycle strategies

The Operation management addresses the issue of innovation for product development by enabling firms with some distinctiveness in their offerings. The distinctiveness may be on account of products/services offered, technologies and channel employed and various processes used while providing the product or services to the customers. In recent years we have been witnessing a rise in customer expectations with respect to the products and services offered. Firms can benefits in this scenario, either by offering highly differentiated products and services or by offering very cost effective products. Furthermore, firms can also benefit by bringing these products and services much faster than the competitors and gain from the early mover advantage, In order to achieve this, firms need to have a robust mechanism to understand customers’ expectations. Firms must also have the capability to reach faster once the expectations are understood. In the 1950sand 1960s Hindustan Motors introduced variations of its Ambassador (Mark 2, Mark3 and so on) roughly once in ten years. Today, no automobile manufacturer can afford to take that much time to introduce new products and variations of existing ones. A good product development process addresses these issues and provides a firm with a set of tools, techniques and concepts to bring products faster and cheaper into the market and realize the associated gains.

Organizations have experienced several tangible benefits from good product development processes. Some of them are:

  • The International Motor Vehicles Programme showed that while Japanese manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota introduced as many as 85 models between1982 and 1989, their American counterpart were able to introduce only 49 models . This significantly affected the competitive positioning of these firms.
  • Another study analyzed the market impact of new product introduction. It was shown that by introducing products six months ahead of competitors , a firm can gain as much as three times the cumulative profit earned over the life of the product

It is, therefore clear that product development is an important aspects of the operation management function in every organization, be it services or manufacturing. An organization armed with good product development process will be in a better position to bring new products and services to the market ahead of competition and will be able to retain customers and its market share in the sector.

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