Considerations in Product Development
While developing a new product the following considerations are worth noting:
1. Consumer Acceptance
Sales depend on consumer acceptance of the product. The demand of industrial consumers and direct consumers should be separately assessed. The consumer decides to buy on several factors — appearance (whether product is pleasing and attractive to look at), convenience (whether it can be used readily and easily), usefulness (whether it meets the desired purchase factor); durability, cost of operation, purchase price, diversity of types and sizes.
In addition to some of these factors, industrial consumers look primarily for suitability, durability, quality, stable supply and price. The producer must carefully weigh the relative importance of these consumer-acceptance factors having a bearing on the product and strive for a balance among them that will be most effective in the market for the product.
2. Patent, Copyright and Trademark Protection
Before a decision is taken to embark upon an expensive development programme, the degree of protection obtainable from patents should be thoroughly explored. A patent may be obtained by any person who has invented or discovered anything new. Other similar protection available are registration of trademark and reservation of copyrights.
Copyrights are generally applicable to writing of books and other printed matters such as maps, charts, drawings, painting, photographs, etc. A trademark is an identifying aspect of a name, symbol, or device, which may be registered to distinguish its product from those manufactured by others and it should be distinctly different from other trade marks, currently in use.
3. Developing and Manufacturing Costs
Usually, before undertaking to develop a particular product, the management of an organization must be able to envisage a return on the product commensurating with the cost of development. This is not only a forecast of the market for the product but also include factors such as time, effort and equipment required in its development. The product should not only be possible to be produced in a laboratory but be capable of producing on commercial basis, keeping in view the quantity and the cost.
4. Complementary Products
A live management is always on the alert for new products that will round out the line of goods sold, articles that may be produced or sold during the dull seasons or that which will utilize existing equipment not being used to capacity. Products falling into any of the foregoing categories are known as ‘complementary’ products.
Products may be complementary with regard to production or distribution or both. For instance, a razor blade manufacturing company may also produce shaving cream, as the existing distribution network of the organization could be used to reach the distribution outlets, etc., even though for manufacturing shaving cream different materials, equipment and techniques are needed.
Similarly, certain products may be developed which may engage the existing manufacturing facilities during their off-season.
5. Effects on Other Products
The management should also consider the effect of proposed products on established products. Sometimes an addition of new product tends to fill out the line of products, as in the case of complementary products; other times, the new product competes directly with an existing product and may or may not increase the over-all sales and profits of the organization.
The introduction of a cheap-quality model in order to widen the market of an existing high quality product, may depress the market of the latter. In general, the introduction of a new product is a positive development, but whether it will be beneficial or detrimental to an established line of product is something that has to be carefully studied and an appropriate decision arrived at.
A product development programme designed to find ways of utilizing the by-products and wastes are very worthwhile. A company, manufacturing high quality leather belts may find a market for its waste leather pieces by developing such by-products as shoe soles, dog collars, skate straps, and leather washers.
In some cases, profits from by-products developed from waste are found to be more than those of main product. Research and imagination are the two chief requisites in turning waste materials into useful products whose value can be many times more than the cost of development.