New ideas may frequently "bubble to the top" in one's personal and
business life, but few become reality. Many ideas which are the
subject of product development efforts get abandoned somewhere during
the development process. Often such abandonment is the result of
innefective development during one of the following stages.
Defining the Concept or Creating the Specification
To facilitate proper new product development one must create a robust product definition or specification. Proceeding without such a specification places a hardship on involved vendors and architects and may ultimately weaken the project to the point of failure.
Refining the Concept
Further development of the concept usually takes the form of some sort of prototype. A prototype is particularly valuable in new product development because it provides valuable information to so many project contributors. Engineers find shortcomings, marketing finds opportunities or limitations, procurement obtains projected costs and parts availabilities, etc.
Pilot Runs and Testing
While prototypes are useful, it is often the pilot runs that provide
the best product development information. The pilot or "limited
production" run produces enough copies of the production level devices
to satisfy the needs of sales, testing, manufacturing and possibly a
limited group of customers.
is the stage at which the project enjoyes some "economy of scale",
which often results in reduced "per item" costs. Although there
may be large tooling and setup charges, these charges are typically
more than "made up" in the lower per-item costs.