The challenges of bringing a new product to market are greater than they were three years ago. Now, the costs of a new product launch are higher. Innovation has become more targeted, and supply chain complexity has risen. Today, the investment in research and development is approximately four times as much as it was five years ago.
An understanding of the needs and wants of the customer, the competitive environment, and the nature of the market are important for new product success. The chief variables that propel customer needs are cost, time, and quality. A company faces many uncertainties and challenges in a new project launch.
Innovation is the responsibility of the brand and product managers.
Innovation must be orchestrated from the top
Innovation comes from within – most often generated by product developers and research groups
External collaboration is indispensable
Innovation only means designing new or better products and services
Business model and operations innovation matter just as much
A planned approach to launching a new project can help, but generally speaking, the launch depends on the skill of the EMS partner’s project team and program manager. Be sure to consider the known costs (engineering and tooling) plus costs occasioned by unanticipated issues. However, project launch is a team effort.
What can be done to trim costs?
- Take a look at task relationships. Often by linking tasks aggressively you can shorten the time you have to pay resources to wait to start their next task.
- Check date constraints. Resources may be waiting unnecessarily for the right time to work on tasks.
- Real-time visibility into the project status and issues
- Be aware of supply chain issues. Problems discovered in the initial stage of a project are less expensive to remedy than when found in the field. Eliminating possible supply chain problems before they occur reduces costs and results in better quality
- Forecast as accurately as possible and listen to the EMS provider’s recommendations
- Increase the approved vendor list
- Get rid of overtime. If the schedule involves overtime, try to adjust assignments to eliminate that need
- Review and revise your project budget weekly
- Obtain weekly information from your accounting department regarding the charges to your project and diligently revise your information each week.
- Stay on top of the budget – don’t let a week go by without comparing forecast to actuals and re-forecasting. It is much easier to fix a budget overrun before it gets out of hand.
- Have a system for approving and tracking changes
We have touched on a few ways to effect cost savings. Call us to discuss other ways that you can cut costs and still achieve the quality product you are known for.
At SMC, we want to save our customers money while providing the finest quality. To that end, we have separate engineering groups for Custom Engineering support, Test Engineering, Process Engineering, and Systems Integration, as well as a very strong Strategic Customer Management role. SMC provides technical resources for New Product Introduction (NPI), through all levels of volume production.