Product development teams are tasked with two sets of goals: those that relate to product quality and performance, and those that relate to the business of product development. These goal lists may vary depending on the type of product, but every team ultimately strives for the same things — low cost, high quality, and fast to-market times. Unfortunately, speed doesn’t always lead to a quality product. That is, unless you have the right technologies and tools in place. Below are five new product development tools that will bring greater agility and efficiency to your new product development strategy process. By learning to harness the power of new technology, your team can better balance cost and speed without compromising quality.
New Product Development Tools
1. Model-Based Definition (MBD) Software
MBD software creates incredibly detailed digital 3D models of your product, including all annotations and associated data elements without requiring any drawing. These models illustrate dimension, surface finishes, materials, tolerances, and more to validate designs earlier in the process than ever before.
2. Additive Manufacturing
3D printing takes MBD to the next level by converting digital renderings into a tangible product. 3D printing isn’t exactly a part of the “new product development tools” category; it’s been around for quite awhile. However, it has become more advanced and widely accessible, enabling design teams to test MBD renderings and UX/UI definitively. With advanced 3D printing, weaknesses and opportunities for enhancements can be identified earlier in the development process to mitigate issues that commonly disrupt production if discovered further down the conveyor belt. The outcome is a highly-refined blueprint of the product your team will use as a single source authority to inform all subsequent development decisions.
3. Internet of Things (IoT) Technology
Imagine taking the second or third generation of your product to market in a quarter of the time. With IoT technology, you can incorporate smart sensors into your products, maintain a networked link to them, and receive user feedback the moment your product hits the field. With real-time visibility into how products are performing, development teams can identify utilization trends or user issues to inform next-generation designs. However, there’s a caveat. If you plan to incorporate new product development tools like IoT technology into your production, you must also be prepared for the flood of data that will ensue. Success will hinge on your ability to aggregate, organize, analyze, and convert this data into action.
4. Augmented Reality (AR)
Especially for teams who develop products that are incorporated into complex systems, augmented reality will soon give you the capability to interact with your product in revolutionary ways. For example, what if you could analyze the performance of your Printed Circuit Board (PCB) from inside the design? Virtual reality tools will give product designers an insider’s perspective that may help them catch design flaws, discover truly innovative enhancements, or completely design product components from within a working product environment.
5. Advanced Product Management Software
Product developers are constantly managing a million moving parts, but that doesn’t mean the production process can’t be simplified. A sophisticated product management software solution will support your team in creating a highly strategic go-to-market process. This software centralizes information about all project goals and constraints and will bridge the gaps between the development process and business decisions. With insight into every moving part of production, teams will become more agile and aware of their progress. They can prioritize specific actions that give them a strategic advantage over competitors in the race to market.
New Product Development Tools: Looking Ahead
As you work toward advancing your production process, keep in mind that the right manufacturing partner will offer many advanced tools without you having to invest in sole proprietorship. For example, iCONN Systems offers additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, cellular manufacturing processes and other tools and technologies to support the speed-cost-quality objectives that all product developers share.