Key requirements for successful product development

Product development is the key to the future in the business strategy. In the business strategy, the top company management signifies the changes necessary for the company's future survival and growth and from this can be identified the basis for product development. The future is what product development can provide, delivering new products by the least risky, most efficient process to carry the enterprise forward. It must harmonise with the existing company activities as it delivers the new. Therefore it has to be an integral part of the business strategy with full support of top management and cooperation from management in all areas of the company.

Product development builds systematically from the resources and within the constraints of the business, progressing through four key stages towards a satisfied market. The product development process is the system that integrates the activities in the four stages and its efficient and effective organisation is one of the major factors ensuring success in product development.

All of product development is underpinned by knowledge - of the product, market, production, distribution, consumer and society. The more extensive, complete and accurate the knowledge, the greater the probability of a good fit of the new product to the business and the market. So the fullest, practicable, exploration of existing knowledge is important early in the product development process. This knowledge is extended by information from outside the company, and by creation of new knowledge inside the company.

The consumers are an integral part of all product development projects, even in industrial marketing where the immediate customer is the food manufacturer or food service outlet. The product is built around what the consumers need and want, and their behaviour in buying, using and eating the product.

The four important facets of understanding product development are the place of product development in the business strategy, the product development process, the knowledge in product development, and the consumer/product relationship. Thus the new product can be developed to fit most comfortably to the business that produces it and to the customer who consumes it.

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