Want to Accelerate NPD? Adopt These Five Approaches

This content relates to : NEW PRODUCT & SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

HIGHLIGHTS

Five approaches can help accelerate NPD: simplify processes, eliminate process delays, eliminate unnecessary process steps, parallel process individual groups of process steps, and speed up process steps and overall NPD development operations. 

These five approaches may be employed alone or in combination but potentially offer the greatest acceleration potential when used in conjunction with one another. 

A necessary caution is to assess whether adopting these acceleration approaches will have a detrimental impact on the development of new products. 

Murray Millson

California State University 

Based on an in-depth review of extant literature in several academic domains including marketing, business, strategy, manufacturing, and organization management, we suggest five major New Product Development (NPD) acceleration approaches that can be employed by most organizations that plan to expeditiously develop and launch new products. 

The five acceleration approaches derived from this research include simplifying processes, eliminating process delays, eliminating unnecessary process steps, parallel processing individual groups of process steps, and speeding up process steps and overall NPD development operations. 

The notion of “simplifying processes” is often unclear and needs further explanation. Therefore, “simplifying NPD processes” is defined as actions undertaken to make each step in the process of developing new products easier. For example, a reduction in the number of product component suppliers typically makes purchasing and the overall NPD process “simpler”. The other four NPD acceleration approaches identified in this research can each be understood as separate processes. 

We suggest that there may very well exist a priority with which these five NPD acceleration techniques might be executed to generate the greatest overall process efficiency and effectivity. We propose that the five NPD approaches will be most effective when the “simplifying individual NPD process steps” approach is performed first. Next, the “simplified” NPD process steps that are found to be unnecessary/ineffective should be eliminated from the overall NPD process. 

Upon simplification of all NPD steps and the elimination of unnecessary NPD steps, the remaining, simplified NPD steps should be reviewed to determine to what degree these NPD steps can be effectively executed in parallel. Upon completion of an NPD step dependency review, the independent NPD acceleration steps can be situated in parallel paths. 

We suggest that each parallel path including “simplified, necessary” NPD steps need to be examined such that the newly formed independent NPD development process paths can be reviewed so as to eliminate delays within and between the discrete activities of the NPD process steps that form each parallel path in the overall NPD process. Finally, if the revised NPD process continues to not operate as efficiently as necessary, it should then, and only then, be accelerated by performing each of the steps in each of the parallel paths at a faster rate. As a necessary caution, there needs to be an in-depth understanding of all steps of the NPD process, as currently performed, to ascertain whether increasing the speed with which each NPD process step is executed will have a detrimental impact on the development of new products. 

Author:

Murray Millson, ’93 Ph.D.

Professor of Marketing, School of Business, California State University 

To learn more, read: 

Murray R. Millson, S.P.Raj, David Wilemon (1992), “A Survey of Major Approaches for Accelerating New Product Development,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 9(1), 53-69.