Have you ever seen the new and improved packaging on your favorite products? Of course, the company knows it's new, but how do they know it's "improved?" This is a product undergoing a repositioning phase.
Essentially, it has been changed to meet the needs of consumers based on updated research and competitive analysis. This is a very common form of product development, and for better or worse, all products must bow to the marketplace.
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The first phase of product development is known as the Fuzzy Front End. This process requires brainstorming a concept and researching all fronts including focus groups, salespeople, trade shows, trends, and the competition. Best practices for this process are widespread, including a simple three-step method to make sure that ideas are tracked.
This method also includes promoting idea generation throughout the entire company and assigning personnel to assess ideas and give feedback to the idea generators.
The next phase is idea screening. Ideas are further scrutinized to make sure they are feasible before devoting portions of the budget to their development. The idea screeners have to ask a few questions about the feasibility of creating the product before moving forward.
A best practice in this area includes screening the product against the company's marketing strategy, profitability, and sales, and with the actual key customers or buyers.
Product development then turns to include concept development and testing. This is where the engineers come into play, making the physical details that will go into the product itself.