LNS Research recently compiled a comprehensive study regarding new product introduction. Developing new products is the key to remaining competitive, growing and becoming an industry leader. However, the challenges that manufacturers encounter when developing and releasing new products are steeper than ever before. The study is a combination of two surveys that provide some insights into new product introduction in a number of industries. The sizes of the companies vary, and so do the degrees of success and technology adoption. The manufacturers who took part in these two studies typically release a new product every two years and dedicate 25 percent of their personnel to these projects. However, 91 percent of the participants still use spreadsheets or digital documents to keep track of requirements instead of using a digitalized solution. The research looks at how this low degree of technology adoption affects the manufacturers' ability to meet National Provider Identifier (NPI) requirements.
Identifying new challenges
The two surveys revealed that manufacturers are dealing with an NPI landscape that is rapidly changing. Here are some of the new challenges manufacturers have to contend with:
- Products are developed for a global market with increased competition and varying requirements and expectations.
- Products are more complex than ever before.
- The time to market pressure is increasing and is crucial in earning market shares in the long term.
- Consumers have immediate visibility over product performance. Manufacturers don't have a second chance if a product initially disappoints.
Working with multiple stakeholders
The complexity of the modern supply chain means that most new products require the input of several stakeholders. The research found that some key stakeholders are brought in too late in the NPI process, which impacts quality. This often results in manufacturers being faced with choices late in the NPI process. Quality is often sacrificed in favor of low costs or time to market. Did you know that a product launch is delayed in only 65 percent of cases when quality issues are found? Digitalization is the answer to challenges such as product validation, quality management siloed organizations and the complexity of the supply chain.
Digitalizing the NPI process
The two surveys found that adopting a digitalized solution to manage the NPI process increased a manufacturer's chances of meeting NPI requirements. Here are some key strategies for digitalizing the NPI process:
- Adopt a new strategy. Silos should be broken down, and processes should be standardized. You need an NPI process owner and need to work with clear metrics and KPIs for NPI requirements.
- Rethink collaboration. Improve communication between stakeholders and embed different disciplines into the NPI process.
- Leverage analytics. Use data from your ERP, EQMS, PLM and other systems to make better decisions.
- Introduce new technologies. You can collect more data thanks to the industrial "internet of things," or use a digital twin of the new product to conduct advanced tests and generate more data linked to quality and performance.
- Create a framework for digital innovation. Establish how data will be collected and integrated into the quality management process. Define your relationship to risk and develop a strategy to achieve insight velocity and visibility.
Achieving NPI success
The main takeaway of this study is that you need to have a strategic, collaborative and digitalized approach to NPI to improve your success rate. You need to define what a successful outcome is for your NPI process and should prioritize things such as stakeholder engagement, cross-functional teams, automation, digital disruption and information and operational technology. Take a look at the NPI e-book for more insights and statistics on the challenges faced by manufacturers during the NPI process and on the most efficient solutions deployed.