Product Life-Cycle – The Introduction or Launch It!
In our previous blog, we developed a product that was based on market research and perceived opportunity. We have tested that product both from the market perspective and the quality expectations from the customer and our own business case requirements. Now it is time to make the product available to our clientele.
We are concerned with the marketing and distribution channels of our product line. How do we get the product to the right people? Since we now have a product to move, our plans for introduction will now be executed. If this product has some similarities to the rest of our product line we will likely rely on those existing distribution mechanism.
We may discover product uses that we did not envision in our development work. In this case we are not talking about new markets but more errant uses of the product that we may have to remediate. As an extreme and a bit flippant example; we were not aware that the customer will use the product while in the water. We then decide that we should seal the enclosure.
We have not finished learning about the product even in this phase of the life cycle. Our product development process may have called for such manufacturing development activities such as:
- Process Studies
- Measurement System Assessment
- Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis
- Control Plans
However these are experientially based theoretical exercises. We have not likely produced product at the rate we can expect in our expected production volumes. Even if we have ran a volume we believe to represent our expected volume, we have not done it for days or weeks on end as we may expect when we are at full production volumes. The stress of full production will likely illuminate process improvement areas as we ramp up to the production volumes. The improvements can come from any part of the chain to deliver the product to the customer. However, experience suggests, since our manufacturing line was likely not stressed through the prototype product development we may find things to improve.