You will fail at New Product Development (NPD) … unless you do this!

March 4, 2019 Debankan Chattopadhyay

I don’t want to sound like the messenger of Doom, but facts are facts. There are certain things you need to do…to accomplish certain other things. That's just how life works. But of course, you knew all that.

I don’t want to sound like the messenger of Doom, but facts are facts. There are certain things you need to do…to accomplish certain other things. That’s just how life works.

Engineering is no different. In fact, it’s probably a lot more complex than most things you will do in life. Engineering is fun, when you understand it but god-awfully complicated, when you don’t. And as is true about creating anything new – be it a piece of software, a winch or a kitchen appliance – new product development or NPD, as it is often referred to in engineering jargon, requires knowledge, patience, the right environment, skills, sufficient budget and at times… some outside help.

Why do I need outside help?

It's one thing for a 5-year old to hum to the tune of "I can do this alone, all on my own, I’m grown...", and another thing for you to adopt the same mantra and take the burden of new product development as a solo effort. Depending on where you are based, there could be several factors that make a case for seeking outside assistance. Things like acute shortage of technical talent, willingness to work in remote/rural locations and increasing costs associated with high local wages. It's for situations like these that identifying a partner with a deep and experienced engineering talent pool in a lower cost region might make a lot of practical business sense.

How can I ensure success of my new product development initiatives?

For every successful new product that we lay our hands on, there are tens of thousands of others that don’t see the light of the day. To ensure that you’re on the right side of that equation, here are things you need to do for any NPD initiative you embark upon:

Be Honest

Can’t stress this enough, but this is likely the most important thing for you to succeed in NPD. Be honest about what it is you are capable of doing. It’s good to have stretch goals, but ensure that you don’t set out to do something so far out there, that in the end you are disappointed when you fail.

Why work with CCE?

If there’s anything you can take to the bank is the fact that we are honest. Brutally honest…almost to a fault! We do not believe we know everything, and most certainly not the core of your business or product. But what we do know is we have a great group of core, experienced engineers. Only if we are 100% certain that we can help you with your NPD initiatives, will we offer our services. If not, no harm done. You’re better off working with someone who does. Because we understand that there’s a lot that’s riding on a new product – your brand, your reputation, your goodwill and a lot more that goes well beyond the success/failure of the product itself.

Assemble the right team

Knowing what you can do, get a core group of people with relevant experience and who are driven. There’s no substitute for knowledge, experience and an unrelenting drive.

Why work with CCE?

CCE has a group of experienced and talented engineers on staff with experience in core design across various industry verticals that include, but are not limited to, Semiconductor Equipment, Consumer Appliances, Industrial Machinery, Woodworking among others. We have functional experts in drive control mechanisms, electronics with sensors, fluid flow, energy optimization etc. who have equal parts of drive, knowledge and great work ethics to ensure success of your new product development initiative.

Set up the right processes

Engineers are analytical and love processes. But that’s more out of habit than anything else. But processes also help in preventing unnecessary bottlenecks and errors. And when things do go wrong, and I assure you that they will, processes help you understand what went wrong and why. In a new product development environment, getting to the root cause of a problem, when it happens, is possible only when you have sound processes in place. Otherwise, you will waste countless hours in ad-hoc troubleshooting exercises.

Why work with CCE?

At the start of any engagement, CCE’s local services and program managers spend a considerable amount of time understanding your internal processes, standards, best practices to ensure absolute smooth workflow when the actual work does start. They are responsible for any relevant customer Way of Working (WoW) training that the team needs and gathers all the key process metrics that should be tracked to judge success of the project. All this is codified in our proprietary work order management tool, PowerLink.

Invest in a reliable communication infrastructure

Any collaborative endeavor needs a good communication framework so that all stakeholders are on the same page and there is no miscommunication. Every small “misunderstanding” in a collaborative project can provide costly in terms of time and resources. And for any new product development effort, those two things are already pretty scarce to begin with.

Why work with CCE?

CCE understands the importance of communication between collaborators working on new product development, especially when using remote teams. CCE has developed an innovative program, TrEND (Trusted Engineer Next Door), to establish a reliable communication system that fosters natural sharing of design and engineering ideas in a way as if everyone is in the same room. TrEND leverages advanced software to coordinate video, audio and CAD streams from both sides of the geographically dispersed conversation, to create a natural collaboration experience. TrEND provides all of the accessibility you need when working with remote teams on collaborative projects and will certainly accelerate your new product development process.

Select the "right" tools

Just as important as picking the right team, is selecting the right set of tools required for the job. Be it design software, an analysis package or testing laboratory. Depending on what you are trying to build, budgeting correctly for the “right” tools, not the “cheapest”, is key.

Why work with CCE?

CCE has access to all commonly used tools for advanced product engineering, design and analysis. Besides commercially available software, and given its roots in CAD software development, CCE also uses some of its proprietary software, especially for design automation projects. Picking the right tool for the job not only ensures improved productivity, but also eliminates wasted time and resources.

Hold everyone accountable

Of course, when you embark on a significant new product development initiative, it is important to set up processes and use tools that hold everyone accountable. To keep the proverbial “machine running smoothly” during the NPD process, accountability is key, Just as important as picking the right team, is selecting the right set of tools that will allow transparency of the NPD process and hold accountable stakeholders at each stage of development.

Why work with CCE?

CCE's proprietary and secured web-based Work Order Management System, PowerLink, provides total visibility and accountability of your new product development initiatives by facilitating reliable and secure communications, with a single set of documents available to all stakeholders, worldwide. PowerLink is the perfect complement to TrEND.

So, what’s the moral of the story?

New Product Development (NPD) is hard. Seeking outside help to assist you with NPD is harder. Dire as it may sound, you will fail at NPD unless you find an engineering partner who’s honest about their capabilities, has experienced engineers with broad industry experience, proven processes, reliable communication infrastructure that facilitates NPD and tools that provide complete transparency & accountability during the NPD initiative. If they also happen to have resources at a lower cost location, that’s icing on the cake.

CCE scores top grades on all counts and should absolutely be your partner of choice for all new product development initiatives. With TrEND & PowerLink at both ends, whether you’re sketching an initial concept during ideation, collaborating on design changes or discussing feedback on a manufactured part, location is no longer an issue and communication no longer a barrier! Working with CCE will certainly accelerate your new product development process.

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