For any company, development of new products acts as a lifeblood for companies, whether the company is engaged in the manufacturing or in the service sector (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). It is important for companies to put into mind that the success of new products is not just to happen but there is a lot that is involved in product development. Managers in an organization will play a crucial role in the development of a new product in the market. Success of a new product is dependent on a well planned combination and interplay by the managers and their staff. The team will work guided by a well developed product development plan whereby all the responsibilities and the roles of each team member are clearly spelt out.
Coca Cola Company and Pepsi are household names across the United States and the rest of the world. The companies run the business of production of soft drinks and are great competitors. The companies have a history of development of a lot of new products some of which became clearly successful while others did not perform as was anticipated. An example is when in 1985, Coca Cola attempted to change the formula of its most popular soft drink. The company made an introduction of the reformulated Coca Cola which was not accepted by the clients, and the company returned to its old formula of producing the drink. Pepsi has also attempted to open a lot of industries outside of the United States which have turned out to be not successful. Despite this, both companies are hugely successful with their new products.
Some of the main steps that managers can employ to ensure that they are effective in new product development include communicating the vision of the company. It is the responsibility of the managers to coordinate in the preparation of the company’s strategic plan generally. Specifically, as the responsibility of overseeing the development of new products and ensuring the vision of the company is shared with all those who work in the company and other stakeholders. For the other staff that does not possess the knowledge of the direction the organization is taking and the path the company is taking to get there, it would be difficult to develop any ideas. Provision of proper understanding of the goals of a company will make it easier to the staff to work as a team and thus develop new products which are in line with the plans of the company and meet the customer’s expectation (Brooke & Mills, 2003).
It is also important that the management ensures that they define the development process of the product. It is important that the idea flow is well thought out and spelt out. The idea flow in the development process should be defined from the way it is conceived, evaluated, and testing to the development of a product. It is important to identify the various roles of the participants, the process should be developed as a pie chart or a flow diagram and it should go hand in hand with the control of documentation as well as the company procedures. The process should not be complicated but should be one that is easy to implement as well as understand. A complicated process will act as an impediment to creativity. The process should always be evaluated and monitored by the managers to ensure it is up-to-date and is keeping in touch with the realities of the organization.
Another important aspect managers should take into consideration is whether a new product development is preaching on the importance of speed. The managers should ensure that the company’s staff is aware that it is important for the company to quickly get new products in the market for the company to be in business both in the short term and in the long term. Speed is more crucial if it is able to give the company a competitive advantage over its competitors. Otherwise, concentrating only on speed can deny the company from developing better products that will produce less yields and shall result in the product not being relevant in the market.
Even though we put a lot of emphasis on speed, all the products produced by the customer must meet, if not exceed, all the requests and expectations of the customers. The product should also be one that can be readily manufactured from locally available products. The product should also be perceived as one that has a better value to the customers. It should also have minimum costs and thus shall assist the company to generate some good profits from selling the product. Timing is essential and thus it should be introduced at the right time when the clients mostly need it. The new product should also be reliable to the organization. These are some of the requirements a manager should ensure over a certain product before it is produced.
A manager has to identify certain barriers which are inevitable when they are in the process of development of a new product. Some of the barriers include the development of poor project plans which might result in poor development of the product. Also there may arise challenges due to the conflicts in the various functional areas in an organization. Time can also be a barrier which needs to be overcome; proper planning is necessary and there is a need to create enough time for developing the product. While the senior management may be working hard to ensure new products are a success, middle managers who have the crucial role of the implementation of the plans may not show commitment and this could be a serious barrier (Thomas, 1993). If priorities are not clearly stated, it can be a barrier to the proper development of other new products. Another barrier is the limitation of financial resources. It is important that the plan factors in adequate resources needed for the implementation of the product and there are not too many projects so that there is no strain to the available resources.
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It is important that a company ensures that they nurture creativity amongst their staff. The process of nurturing creativity is essential when the development of new products is concerned. The process is unpredictable and not very clear in many organizations but the results are good to any organization. It will result to a company in the development of an idea that is innovative, creative, and original as well as significant. To provide an environment that nurtures creativity, an organization must encourage risk taking by their employees as well as being tolerant to failure. Also, the organization should enable people to work as a team and encourage them to share ideas through proper communication with each other. It is also important to minimize unnecessary competition amongst staff as well interfuctional fights (Leavitt, Wright & Brown, 2004). The managers should also ensure that they maintain clear communication with outsiders and are open to suggestions and find what is relevant to their situation.
According to Annacchino (2003), the creative process is said to have 3 forms, according to Herman Helmholtz, who believed that creativity takes 3 stages or phases which are the saturation phase, incubation stage as well as illumination stage. Incubation stage involves idea generation; this can include brainstorming, research, and individual contribution to ideas. Incubation involves the evaluation of idea and assessing its chances of success. If an idea is favored, then it is developed and thus leads to illumination which is the development of the idea after it has been well thought out.
Development of a new product is essential in all organizations; if a product is not creative, it will become less competitive in the ever increasing business competition. Organizations such as Coca Cola and Pepsi have spent a lot of resources on new product development and this is what has kept them in business. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the company produces new products and the products are well delivered with the already existing products that the company has, and the new products do not cannibalize on the existing products.
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