Our approach to product development translates your market insight into game-changing products.
The product development process is critical in delivering products that meet requirements and production timescales, provide the right user experience and are suitable to manufacture, maintain and drive sustainable profit margins.
We achieve the best results for our customers by doing things a little differently! We’ve created a gated process for new product development that integrates the disciplines of Project Management, Product Development and Procurement. This Meta-Process balances product complexity, performance, cost, time-to-market and usability to ensure we can maximise the output of all of our customers products.
The six stages of the process cover all the activities associated with a project’s life-cycle i.e. from generation of an initial requirement for a product or service, through to its disposal. The process has gates not only at the end of each stage but intermediate design and procurement are also required throughout the process to provide high levels of control
For clarity the various types of gates are shown separately, however, it must be emphasised that they are in fact highly integrated (for example the Initiation Phase Gate Review is a necessary input to the Concept Phase)
Details of the work carried out in each stage are as follows:
The Pre Contract Phase identifies product opportunities with the customer and develops these into a series of Guiding Principles which will be used throughout the product design process. The Guiding Principles will typically cover the key requirements for a product. The phase will be complete when a Purchase Order is released and the Project Kick Off meeting is held.
Examples of guiding principles include but are not limited to the following:
- Functional requirements – What is the essential function of the product?
- Monitoring requirements – What parameters must the product monitor?
- Safety requirements – What safety measures must be implemented?
- Environmental Requirements – in what conditions must the product operate?
- Usability requirements – how do people interact with the product?
- Legislative requirements – to which standards must the product comply?
- Manufacturing requirements – How will the product be made?
- Testability requirements – how will the system be tested?
- Commercial Requirements – How much must the product cost?
Stage 1- Initiation Phase
The Initiation Phase is used to develop a number of ideas and technologies which could work in finding solutions to the challenges posed within the guiding principles and pre contract phase. This is the most creative phase of the process and where the most value can be added. Full collaboration between the project/product stakeholders is essential to gain the maximum benefit.
Stage 2 – Feasibility Phase
The Feasibility Phase is used to develop a proposal for a solution which should work in finding a solution to the challenges posed within the guiding principles and Initiation phase. This phase is typified by the exploration of specific technologies to meet solutions, building and testing of sub-assemblies (mules) and contracting suppliers for development work. Expenditure increases in this phase and is likely to include the procurement of components and services.
Stage 3 – Prototype Development
The Prototype Phase is used to develop a product which will work in finding a solution to the challenges posed within the guiding principles and Feasibility phase and is led by the Project Engineering Team. The prototype will be manufactured, assembled and tested to ensure the proposed solution meets the requirements of the guiding principles. During the prototype phase a technical specification will start to be developed for the final product, including certification requirements and a preliminary FMEA.
Stage 4 – Pre-Production
The Pre-production phase is used to develop the product into a production ready solution. This phase is jointly led by the Project Engineering Team and Production Team. Typical activities will include the finalization of the Quality and Test Plans, manufacturing assessments on tooling and equipment needs, the creation of Standard Operating Procedures for manufacture and the issuing of production drawings and Bills of Material. At this stage strategic supplier negotiations will commence.
Stage 5- Production Handover
The Production Handover phase is used to validate manufacturing proposals developed in the Pre-Production phase. This phase of the work is led by the Production Teams. All production drawings, Bills of material, Standard Operating Procedures, Inspection criteria and equipment will be validated in a trial production run. All schedule and costing assumptions will be validated during this phase.