Creating Winning Products: The Essential Stages of Product Development

No matter how popular a business is, it cannot prosper completely on a single, unchanging product, and that is why there is always a need to bring something new to the market, whether it is a simple add-on or an advancement. Otherwise, competitors will take your clients and ingest a substantial amount of your client base.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
Therefore, the process of the creation and introduction of new products into the market is required, which is technically called "product development." Product development entails multiple steps, beginning with ideation and concluding with product commercialization.

The product development process might vary depending on the demands of the organization, but the processes involved are usually the same, i.e., ideation, planning, prototype, sourcing, costing, and commercialization. Product development's aim is to build a marketable product that fits client wants and also generates good revenue for the organization.

How is Product Development Beneficial?

Product development is beneficial because it allows businesses to come up with new products or improve existing ones to satisfy the needs and desires of their customers while also gaining an edge over their competitors. Product development also assists firms in expanding their present businesses by breaking into new markets, increasing their consumer base, and boosting their profits.

Six Basic Steps of Product Development:

Following are the six basic steps of product development that a developer must go through.

1. Ideation:

Ideation is the first and most important step in the process of product development. The most significant feature of this step is creativity and inspiration. The production team must consider each aspect of the product and determine what should be prioritized. The practicality of the ideas should also be determined.

This procedure is referred to as brainstorming, and it is a vital component of ideation. Brainstorming has to be done collaboratively in order to come up with a creative and realistic idea.

Ideation involves thinking of a new idea, screening it, and finally evaluating it. The first step towards ideation is the gathering of ideas, which usually comes with the realization of market gaps and discovering opportunities to improve the existing products and offer new, innovative ones.

After all of the ideas have been generated and gathered, the company selects those that would work best for them. This is the initial screening test that the idea goes through, and the purpose of this phase is to eliminate detrimental ideas and those that do not correspond to the company's goals. Hence, it prevents money from going into unprofitable projects as well as determining the feasibility of the ideas.

Also, it is the most appropriate time to decide on price and the distribution strategy that the company is going to apply.

2. Planning:

Planning is the most technical step in the product development process. It is an absolute game-changing phase, as without it, no successful product can be produced. Planning describes all the later steps and the decisions that a company has to take while developing a product or updating it.

If done properly, it could take your business to the next level, but even a little negligence in this crucial phase can set back your business. So, the product developers must be vigilant during this phase.

3. Prototyping:

Prototyping is the next step in product development. This step is characterized by the invention of a physical or virtual sample, also known as a prototype, of the final product in order to test its design and operation.

Prototyping is a repetitive step, and multiple samples or prototypes can be created before the development of the final product. This step helps the developers find any flaws in the design or functionality of the product.

4. Sourcing:

After prototyping, a product developer has to find a manufacturer to source his product. This step involves finding, evaluating, and engaging suppliers to provide all the necessary raw materials for the development of the final product.

This step typically involves two phases. First, strategic sourcing involves long-term planning and management, and second, tactical sourcing involves the execution of the sourcing plan and managing supplier contracts.

Effective sourcing results in stable costs, better quality, and timely delivery of products, ultimately guaranteeing the developer’s success.

5. Costing:

This step involves the estimation of the total product's cost, including labor costs, raw material costs, manufacturing costs, and overhead expenses.

This step helps product developers determine the feasibility of the product and determine a price for it that generates profit as well as covers all the expenses incurred during its development.

6. Commercialization:

Commercialization is the final and most significant phase in the process of product development. A new product is brought to market during this phase. It entails transforming ideas and thoughts into a product that the public accepts. To commercialize a product, developers use different promotional tactics.

At the end, product development is a complicated and time-consuming procedure, which a product developer has to go through again and again until he attains his targeted product. However, once he is clear with his aim, knows what he exactly wants to develop, and then follows all the steps diligently, product development becomes quite easy and less time-consuming for him.

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