As the food industry becomes increasingly competitive, it is important for companies to optimise their new product development (NPD) workflow and develop a clear project roadmap to stay ahead of the curve.
As the food industry becomes increasingly competitive, it is important for companies to optimise their new product development (NPD) workflow and develop a clear project roadmap to stay ahead of the curve. By streamlining your NPD process and making use of available technology, you can bring your products to market faster and more efficiently. Here are the 7 most critical stages you need to consider for Food NPD Management.
- Idea Generation
- Project Scoping
- Product Development
- Product Verification Testing
- Product Validation Testing
- Product Launch
- Post Launch Review
Each stage is critical to the success of the overall process. Proper planning and execution at each stage can mean the difference between success and failure. For this reason, it’s important that smart protocols such as stage-gate control are in place that prevent steps from being skipped or shortcuts being taken within each of the 7 stages.
7 Critical Stages in your NPD process
Stage 0: Idea Generation
The starting point of any NPD stage-gate process will involve generating new ideas and concepts. In this stage the project team will start by discovering the project objectives and requirements. They will then conduct various research activities and brainstorming sessions and experiment with new ideas, taking risks to innovate and challenge traditional ways of doing things.
Stage 1: Project Scoping
Project scoping is important to determine the feasibility of the ideas generated in stage 0. This stage involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines. The team will then conduct market research activities such as SWOT analysis to determine whether the scope of the project is viable for the business and if it presents any significant market opportunity. If the proposals generated in stage 0 are feasible and no alterations are required, the project will move on to the product development stage.
Stage 2: Product Development
This is where your product concept comes to life. The product will be developed in line with the agreed upon parameters set out in the project scoping stage. This is where your product prototype will be formulated in the factory and refined before proceeding to the verification and validation testing stages to determine if further iterations are required.
Stage 3: Product Verification Testing
Testing is essential to the NPD process to ensure the product has been developed in line with the specifications or requirements as defined at the beginning of the project. This is especially important in the food and drink industry where products must be tested to ensure they comply with various food safety standards. In addition, this, products may be tested to verify the taste, texture, nutritional profile, and smell etc. have been developed in line with the project goals.
Stage 4: Product Validation Testing
Once you have established that the product was developed correctly in the verification stage, it’s time to validate whether the correct product has been made. This process involves consumer testing to determine whether customers will actually buy the product once launched. At this stage businesses may conduct focus groups to get feedback from the market that will validate the product or identify attributes that may need to be adjusted before launching the product. This is a critical stage in food NPD management as the customer ultimately decides the success and profitability of the product. If everything goes well during validation testing, then your product is ready for launch!
Stage 5: Product Launch
The product launch, also called commercialization or release, is the stage you have been working towards throughout the entire project. This is when all the hard work pays off and your product is released into the market. The product launch will typically be backed by a marketing strategy to promote sales, this can range from free in-store tasters to introductory pricing.
Stage 6: Post Launch Review
A post launch review is a vital part of NPD management. It aims to identify what went well during the NPD process and where improvements could be made, this allows NPD teams to identify any lessons learned that can be applied to future projects.
By clearly mapping your NPD process out to include each of the above areas, with stage-gate protocols in place to ensure all aspects are considered at each stage gate, your business can benefit from a much smoother and accurately planned NPD process.