Difference between New Product Development (NPD) & Industrial Design (ID)

Let us take a step back and walkthrough the definitions as presented earlier in this article.

New Product Development: The process which involves forming strategy, organizing requirements, generating concepts, creating product & marketing plan, evaluating and subsequent commercialization, thereby bringing a new product to the marketplace.

Product development is a complete cycle which starts from market analysis, product specifications to concept/industrial design, costing, scheduling, testing, manufacturing and ends at logistics, customer feedback, improvements and the final act of getting a product into the market.

Industrial Design:The practice of forming concepts and designing products, which are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production.

Product Design is complete process that includes product industrial design, user experience, 3D Cad modeling, design calculations, simulation. Responsibility of a good product design is to make product working as per design specifications. It is safe to say that product industrial design is one of the many stages of NPD. It is a crucial subset of NPD which is necessary for the successful completion of entire development cycle.

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Importance of Product Development(NPD) & Industrial Design(ID) for a business

Over the first fiscal quarter of 2018, Apple accelerated investments in research and development operations spending more than $3.4 billion on new hires and initiatives which will keep the company competitive in a fast-paced tech market.

Product development is like the gasoline that keeps the wheels rolling. But what drives companies to spend valuable resources such as time, money, human capital, etc. on new product development? And why is it so important?

 Here are five reasons:

  • Value for customers

The primary reason for any new product development is to provide value to its customers. The increasing demands of customers for innovation & new technology calls for the need to develop new or existing products. Otherwise, there is no reason to pour in huge amounts of money in the first place.

  • Keeping up with the competition

Staying ahead of the competition should always be the primary goal for any business. And increased competition is one of the major reasons leading to go for new products development. New products give us a competitive advantage over our rivals. Every firm struggles to fulfill and retain consumers by offering exceptional products. To offer more competitive advantage over the other and to satisfy consumer needs more effectively and efficiently, the product innovation seems to be needed.

  • Changing markets

Today’s market is more dynamic as compared to the past; it keeps on changing due to the wide variety of customer needs, all thanks to increased literacy rate, globalized market, heavy competition, and availability of a number of substitute. Consumers are constantly evolving which means their tastes and preferences change with them. It is the changing consumer behavior that drives the innovation and development of products. Plus, it also counters seasonal fluctuations.

  • Explore technology

Just as consumer trends drive new products, advances in technology drives companies to invest in new products. If your company has not upgraded its technology arsenal for ten years, count yourself to be at the last one in the queue within a few years.

  • Reputation and goodwill

Building image and reputation as a dynamic innovation and creative firm boosts a company’s legacy. The new product development is approached. Company desires to convince the market that it works hard to meet customer’s expectations. In fact, company developing new products frequently has more reputation and can easily attract customers.

Industrial design is a very crucial part of the entire new product development process. We are aware of the fact that industrial design develops aspects of a product that create emotional connections with the user. It integrates all aspects of form, fit, and function, hence optimizing them to create the best possible user experience. Industrial design’s role in product development process is to establish the design language of a product, as well as the corporate branding and identity.

How successfully a company is able to carry out development or modification, incorporating the ergonomics aspect, can often determine the success of a product in the market. Firms that leave industrial design to the end of the engineering lifecycle, or out completely will struggle to find success in consumer-driven markets.

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NPD/ID vocabulary

Bill of materials (BOM): A table containing a list of the components and the quantity of each required to produce an assembly.

BriefInstructions and requests provided to design team prior to the commencement of a project. 

Business analysis: The practice of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems.

Commercialization: The process of introducing a new product or production method into the market.

Concept design: An early phase of design process, where the broad outlines of function and form are articulated.

ErgonomicsApplication of principles that consider the effective, safe and comfortable use of design by humans.

Ideation: Idea generation or brainstorming.

Industrial design: The process of designing products used by millions of consumers around the world.

Market research: An organized effort to gather information about target markets or consumers.

New product development (NPD): The complete process which involves transformation of a market opportunity or product idea into a product available for sale.

New Product Introduction (NPI): New product introduction is the complete process of bringing a new product to market.

Patent: An exclusive right granted to an inventor by a sovereign authority, for a specified time period.

Pilot Run: An initial small production run produced as a check, prior to commencing full-scale production. 

Prototyping: An early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or built to act as a commodity to be replicated or learned from.

SketchAn image that is quick to generate and does not contain complete detail.

S.W.O.TAnalysis framework for a company relative to its competitors, market, and industry: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.

Test marketing: An experiment conducted by companies to check the viability in the target market before full scale manufacture.

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Path to Product Development

If you are an engineering professional, most likely you are aware of how a physical product comes to life. From the early days of sketching and blueprints, manufacturing of a commodity has come a long way. The modern methodology of creating a product has not only changed drastically, but it has become way more efficient and precise in its approach. Today’s engineer lives and thrives in the world of 3-dimensional models. Whatever masterpiece a designer has in his mind, he has the tools and system to give it life. And it is not just limited to inception of a new idea being turned to a product; it has made the art of reverse engineering being implemented more than ever.

So what are the factors that have revolutionized this craft?

It is the safe to say that with the invention of new tools, techniques and computer, the road to new product development has become more smooth, accurate and flexible. Although a professional can get deep into the subject matter, this article gives a brief overview of the product development from technical perspective.

The footsteps to a new product can be summarized in the following sequence.

 

path to product developmentTo put it in words, here is how the entire sequence goes:

  • Scanning: Whether you have an entirely new idea on your mind, or you want to base your idea on an already existing product; you need a reference. Your reference can be either technical manuals from the manufacturer or the physical product itself. The first step is to scan the product using 3D scanners. 3D scanning technology comes in many shapes and forms. Scanners capture and store the 3D information of the product. The scanned information gets stored in the form of closely spaced data points known as Point Cloud.
  • Point Cloud: A point cloud is a collection of data points defined by a given coordinates system. In a 3D coordinates system, for example, a point cloud may define the shape of some real or created physical system.
  • Mesh: Point clouds are used to create 3D meshes. A mesh is a network that constitutes of cells and points. Mesh generation involves point clouds to be connected to each other by the virtue of vertices, edges and faces that meet at shared edges. There are specific softwares for carrying of meshing function.
  • 3D Model: Once the meshed part is generated, it goes through required software applications to be transferred to Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools to get transformed into a proper 3D CAD model. 3D model is the stage where whole sorts of applications such as sewing, stitching, etc, are implemented to create a prototype.
  • Testing: A prototype goes through numerous tests in this phase, to check for limitations and possible calibrations if necessary. This is done to determine the optimum stage where the prototype can be turned to a product.
  • Product: This is where the entire process comes to an end. Once a prototype is evaluated and finalized, it is sent for production in order to introduce it to the market.

 This introductory part gives you a summary of product development and the related technical terms. In the next chapters, we will dive deep and go through all the mentioned stages, one by one.

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The New Product Development Process

You might be a seasoned design professional thinking “What do my bosses sit around and do all day while I do the real design work".

This section outlines and explores the various early stages of the industrial design process that a product goes through. It does serve as a reasonable account of the overall and general product design process.

  • Ideating or initial ideas

Before any design work can begin on a product, there must first be a definition of what the product or product line might be. The idea’s genesis can be many factors such as:

Consumer demand – Reviews & feedbacks from the customers or even their ideas can help companies generate new product ideas.

Internal sources – Companies provide incentives and perks to employees who come up with new product ideas

Market research – Companies constantly review the changing needs, requirements and trends of the market by conducting plethora of market research analysis.

Competition – Competitors SWOT analysis helps companies to generate ideas.

  • Idea screening

An idea can be excellent, good, moderate or very bad. Once a suitable product opportunity has been identified, a specification document or design brief is created to define the product. It is usually created by the higher management of a company who’ll have access to information, such as budgeting and buyer/seller feedback. This step involves filtering out the good and feasible ideas which maintains the technical integrity while staying within realistic cost expectations.

Features such as a mechanical specification or a reference to an existing invention the product might be based upon, are outlined. Expectations, uses, and underlying intelligence associated to the product are included as well. Electronics, including sounds, lights, sensors, and any other specific inputs, such as colors and new materials may also be mentioned. Finally, a few reference sketches or photo images can be added to convey a possible direction.

  • Concept design & development

All ideas that pass through the screening stage are turned into concepts for testing purpose. A concept is a detailed strategy or blueprint version of the idea. In most companies, designers work up a design brief or product specification that guides their designs. It’s the designer’s role to make these ideas a reality. A professional designer has the ability to provide a large variety of designs in a quick and efficient manner. Many people can draw one or two ideas, but when asked to elaborate they often fall short. What separates the true design professional is depth and breadth of their presented ideas and vision in a clear and concise manner. Concept design generally means the use of hand-drawn or digital sketches to convey what’s in a designer’s mind onto paper or a screen.

  • Business analysis

A detailed business analysis is required to determine the feasibility of the product. This stage determines whether the product is commercially profitable or not, whether it will have a regular or seasonal demand and the possibilities of it being in the market for the long run.

  • Modeling

With the help of 3D modeling software (CAD – Computer Aided Design), the ideas/concept is rendered a shape, thereby creating a 3D model. The technical and engineering team has the biggest workload during this phase. These 3D models will often show up problematic areas where the theoretical stresses and strains on the product to be developed will be exposed. If any problem persists, it is a best phase of product development to handle the design errors and come up with modifications to address the same.

  • Prototyping & pilot runs (preliminary design stage)

In this stage, prototypes are built and tested after several iterations and pilot run of the manufacturing process is conducted. This stage involves creating rapid prototypes for a concept that has been deemed to have business relevance and value. Prototype means a ‘quick and dirty’ model rather than a refined one that will be tested and marketed later on. Adjustments are carried out as required before finalizing the design.

  • Test marketing

Apart from continuously testing the product for performance, market testing is also carried out to check the acceptability of the product in the defined market and customer group. It is usually performed by introducing the new product on a very small scale, to check if there are any shortcomings. This helps to know in advance, whether customer will accept and buy this product on launching in the market. Test marketing is a powerful tool indeed.

  • New product launch

This is the final stage in which the product is introduced to the target market. Production starts at a relatively low level of volume as the company develops confidence in its abilities to execute production consistently and marketing abilities to sell the product. Product manufacturing expenses depend on the density of the product, if there are numerous parts, material selection etc. The organization must equip its sales and customer service entities to address and handle queries. Product advertisements, website pages, press releases, and e-mail communications are kept on standby on the launching day.

Product development is an ever evolving fluid process and cannot be summed up in a few steps. The entire procedure sees insertion of additional stages or even eviction of a crucial part, depending on the nature of the project. Each group of professionals, whether designers, engineers or marketing, sales; has their role to play in this methodology. It is the company’s responsibility to continuously monitor the performance of the new product.

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What is a Patent?

Before you get an answer to that question, take a moment to ask yourself - what are the advantages of having a real estate property to your name?

  • You can rent it
  • You can use it for your own business venture
  • You can prevent others from using your property without your permission
  • If things are not working, you can simply sell it

 On similar terms, patent is an intellectual property that has all the advantages stated above and one needs to claim it on his/her name.

 A patent is the granting of property right to an inventor, by a sovereign authority.

 This grant provides the inventor exclusive rights to the design, or invention for a designated period (usually 20 years), in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention. Patent process is generally invoked when the product/process Iprovides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to an existing problem.

Filling for a patent comes with many advantages. Understanding the pros can enable an inventor to make an informed decision.

Advantages of Patents

  • When an inventor or startup is seeking capital for an idea, they may disclose their invention to potential investors and licensees. It is important to patent an idea to prevent someone else from stealing it, by filing a patent application first.
  • Invoking a patent gives the inventor a legal monopoly on selling, using, distributing, importing, or exporting their creation for a specified time period. This keeps others out of the market for the invention, which can be extremely profitable and beneficial.
  • An inventor may seek a patent to prevent another competitor from improving a product, if the inventor has an idea that infringes on the competitor’s patent.
  • A patent holder can typically charge a premium for an invention because of the restricted competition.
  • Patenting an idea can also help to restrict the competition. A properly filed patent can limit the competition's ability to produce the product and even allow the inventor to demand that they cease production if they are producing the item as well and have never patented it.
  • Patents are extremely valuable for small businesses as they may be able to find investors willing to invest merely for rights to a patent.
  • A patent can provide increased credibility to an inventor and their company.
  • A patent holder can exclude the competition from recreating their product or service.
  • An inventor can profit from selling licenses or selling the patent outright. Though royalties can be a better option for many inventors who may be unable to foot the expense of bringing the idea to market.

 

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What is Industrial Design (ID)?

Every product you have in your home and interact with is the outcome of a design procedure. All those products have come into being after long hours of planning, sketching, rendering, 3D modeling. Not to mention the numerous prototypes and testing it has gone through to finally hit the shelves. The ideation and the procedure to develop a certain product is collectively called Industrial Design process or simply ‘Industrial Design’ (ID).

Industrial Design is the professional practice of conceptualizing and designing products, which are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production, eventually to be used by millions of people around the world every day.

An industrial product design process incorporates inputs from diverse domains such as ergonomics, form studies, studio skills, advanced cad, research methods, design management, materials & manufacturing processes and social sciences.

An industrial designer’s purpose is to emphasize on — appearance of a product, the functioning, how the product is manufactured and the value & experience it provides for users. Their sole intent is aimed at improving your life through design.

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