In today’s competitive world, the
success of a new product is determined by fulfilling the customer’s need and
requirements. As a product design director in an electro-mechanical industry,
it is highly important to bring out a new product to survive in the market. The
key drivers of innovation are Technological advancement, Changing Customer
needs, Product Life-cycles and World Competition
(Robert.G.Cooper, 2001). A
concept should be created which should fill the gap with deep market research
in the electro-mechanical sector. The process from concept to delivery of a new
product development is a tough and complex task, in order to win in the market
place. The new idea or concept generated have to tackle a number of practical
difficulties in terms of technical, shape, size, adaptability, cost, lead-time
etc to a finished product which will meet expectations. Since the competition
in the market is getting close-packed there should be a more structured new
product introduction approach such as the ‘Stage Gate Process’. The ‘Stage Gate
Process’ which is discovered by Robert. G. Cooper; is a conceptual and working
model of effective New Product Development (NPD)
(Gronlund, et al., 2010). The structure of the Stage Gate process is a
result of substantial examination on the successful companies on how the NPD
task is done.
The Development Management of an NPD could
be done integrating technical and developmental processes with respect to time,
resources and quality (Bruce.T.Barkley, 2007).
Project Management tools are used for development of the product to the market.
The business perspective, sales, marketing and
the type of production are chosen by the project management tools and
methodologies. The various drawbacks of the product are analysed and according
to that business strategy is developed.
When a new product is coming to a
market, it should create a change or replacement of the existing system which
saves time, money and increase in productivity. Further on, NPD with stage-gate
process in product design and development management with the Project
management tools are discussed.
2.The Stage-Gate Process for NPD
The innovation process which
breaks into a set of stages where each stage is a set of prescribed,
cross-functional and parallel activities (Robert.G.Cooper,
2001). A five-stage five-gate model with Discovery and Post-Launch
Review are the main elements of the stage-gate model. The innovation process is
disintegrated into a set of activities which control the process and passes on
with the required quality checks and further moves to the checkpoints which
gives decision of go or kill is decided.
The Stage-Gate Process given above
in the figure (1) are divided into discrete stages which is designed to collect
information for the project process towards the decision point. The ideas and
pre-work designed to discover opportunities. Every gate serves quality control
checkpoints and prioritized decision points.
The structure of each gate
consists of Deliverables, Criteria and output. The proposal is checked with the
current market that would fit the business strategy. The expectations are drawn
in the deliverables section. The proposed project undergoing the environmental,
health and safety criteria are taken into consideration to turn out a quality
product. The output of the gate is a decision that would be approved or killed
to the next stage.
1.1 Gate 1: Idea Screen
The Idea screen is the first gate to
screen and commit the project. The project is generated after this Gate 1
point. If the project moves into examination or the Scoping Stage. The
criteria’s of the Gate1 ‘should meet and must meet’ the discovery process. The
criteria deal with strategic alignment, project feasibility, magnitude of
opportunity and market attractiveness, product advantage, ability to leverage
the company resources and policies. The Idea screen is clearly mentioned in the
figure 2 below.
In the Idea Screen checklist two
methods criteria divided into Should-meet model and Must-meet models are
created according to the project idea. The should meet model could be used to
help focus the discussion and ranking of the projects are done. The must-meet
criteria are created with a checklist with a point rating scales. There are
also Yes/No questionnaire format is followed. The basic questions are
Strategic Fit: Proposal fit with the
market or technology area?
Market Attractiveness: Market Size,
Technical Feasibility: Product could be
developed and manufactured?
Killer Variables: Legal, Environmental,
At the start of the project ideas
are reviewed by a set of people who are higher officials including technical
and business departments. The project getting ‘Yes’ to the following questions
mentioned above would lead to the next process and Gate2. If the Gate1 didn’t
pass (If answer is No) the project may lead to rework or kill the project idea.
After the Gate1 pass it moves on to the
Scoping given above in figure (2), is a primary stage in which a preliminary
market research is actuated with the help of the library research, journals,
Internet Research and the customer who requires it for their purpose etc. This
stage 1 could also actuate some surveys and feedbacks to make a record and
improvise according to the preferences of the customer. The purpose of scoping
is to understand and determine the market potential, size and acceptance.
step in scoping with the technical feasibility. How far the project idea could
be turned into a relevant and practical design which could be manufactured into
the product. Sometimes the hundred percent idea couldn’t achieve technical and
gathering of market and technical information from the overview of the project
idea is done in very short span within a month almost, and very low cost which
are usually handled by a team involved within the NPD.
1.3 Gate 2: Second Screen
The Gate 2 Second Screen shown in
Figure (3) is the second step in the Stage Gate Process. The project from
Scoping has to pass the Gate 2 with much more regulations to pass with much
more extended aspects. The Gate 2 has to
undergo a set of original ‘must-meet and should-meet’ criteria models used at
the Gate 1.
For the Gate 2 it will deal with
the sales team and finds out the response of customers with NPD launching. The
data of technical, political and regulatory aspects are taken into a checklist
of scoring chart. The financial aspect such as Investment, Machineries, Space,
Payback period are calculated briefly. The
Gate 2 passes on to the Stage 2.