“It’s no secret that when it comes to products, consumers quickly forget those that arrive late, but never forget those that arrive bad.”

New Product Development Stages: 5 Crucial Milestones That Will Make Or Break Your Product (Part 2)

Imagine​ ​this;​ ​you’re​ ​a​ ​product​ ​developer​ ​-​ ​armed​ ​with​ ​hope​ ​and​ ​a​ ​promising​ ​new​ ​prototype​ ​- a​ ​prototype​ ​that​ ​is​ ​seemingly​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​advance​ ​to​ ​the​ ​next​ ​stage​ ​and​ ​head​ ​into​ ​mass manufacturing.​ ​Great!​ ​You’ve​ ​got​ ​a​ ​new​ ​idea​ ​for​ ​a​ ​great​ ​new​ ​product.​ ​You’re​ ​excited.​ ​We’re excited​ ​that​ ​you’re​ ​excited!​ ​Let’s​ ​talk!

As the saying goes, “those that try to save time, end up losing time”. This​ ​is​ ​our​ ​unofficial slogan​ ​at​ ​Procept​ ​and​ ​rings​ ​particularly​ ​true​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​product​ ​development. Time​ ​is​ ​valuable​ ​–​ ​but​ ​being​ ​confident​ ​in​ ​the​ ​prototype​ ​is​ ​priceless​ ​-​ ​and​ ​knowing​ ​this process​ ​is​ ​essential​ ​in​ ​ensuring​ ​your​ ​product​ ​has​ ​the​ ​best​ ​chance​. (Read​ ​​Part​ ​1​ – New Product Development Strategy: Speed Kills here)

This​ ​rigorous​ ​process​ ​is​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Technology​ ​Readiness​ ​Level​ ​(TRL)​ ​and​ ​is​ ​employed​ ​on​ ​a global​ ​scale,​ ​used​ ​by​ ​major​ ​companies​ ​(eg​. ​NASA​ ​and​ ​the​ ​European​ ​Commision).​ ​It​ ​works​ ​to de-risk​ ​the​ ​path​ ​of​ ​manufacturing​ ​through​ ​estimating​ ​technological​ ​maturity​ ​in​ ​1​ ​-​ ​9​ ​steps.​ ​It is​ ​determined​ ​during​ ​an​ ​assessment​ ​process​ ​that​ ​examines​ ​program​ ​concepts,​ ​technology requirements​ ​and​ ​demonstrated​ ​technological​ ​capabilities.

Here​ ​at​ ​Procept,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​developed​ ​our​ ​own​ ​TRL ​system​ ​to​​ ​ensure​ ​that​ ​your​ ​product undergoes​ ​independent​ ​pressure​ ​tests​ ​in​ ​every​ ​step​ ​of​ ​TRL​ ​process​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​your​ ​product is​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​move​ ​comfortably​ ​and​ ​confidently​ ​into​ ​the​ ​next​ ​stage.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​achieved​ ​through risk​ ​mitigation​ ​and​ ​risk​ ​reduction​ ​through​ ​identifying​ ​both​ ​expected​ ​and​ ​unexpected​ ​issues throughout​ ​the​ ​development​ ​process.​ ​Here​ ​we’ve​ ​compiled​ ​a​ ​list​ ​of​ ​the​ ​top​ ​5​ ​crucial milestones​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​readiness​ ​as​ ​assessed​ ​by​ ​Procept:

 • Step​ ​1:​ ​Idea​ ​and​ ​Basic​ ​Research
At​ ​the​ ​beginning,​ ​the​ ​basic​ ​concept​ ​of​ ​the​ ​technology​ ​is​ ​already​ ​known​ ​but​ ​untested. For​ ​example​ ​a​ ​new​ ​synthetic​ ​rubber​ ​compound​ ​is​ ​discovered,​ ​eureka!​ ​Basic​ ​research is​ ​carried​ ​out​ ​on​ ​the​ ​rubber​ ​compound​ ​to​ ​determine​ ​whether​ ​this​ ​type​ ​of​ ​rubber​ ​can be​ ​used​ ​for​ ​vehicle​ ​tyres.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​process.

Step​ ​2:​ ​Formation​ ​of​ ​Technology​ ​and​ ​Applied​ ​Research
Once​ ​step​ ​1​ ​has​ ​been​ ​passed,​ ​applied​ ​research​ ​is​ ​then​ ​carried​ ​out​ ​from​ ​the​ ​basic research​ ​undertaken​ ​in​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​step.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​achieved​ ​through​ ​analytical​ ​and laboratory​ ​studies​ ​to​ ​test​ ​whether​ ​the​ ​technology​ ​is​ ​physically​ ​and​ ​commercially viable.​ ​In​ ​this​ ​case,​ ​the​ ​rubber​ ​is​ ​tested​ ​for​ ​forming,​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​durability capabilities.

Step​ ​3:​ ​Small​ ​v​ ​Large​ ​Scale​ ​Prototype
Once​ ​step​ ​2​ ​is​ ​passed​ ​with​ ​solutions​ ​to​ ​discovered​ ​issues​ ​(if​ ​found),​ ​laboratory testing​ ​of​ ​a​ ​prototype​ ​is​ ​then​ ​carried​ ​out.​ ​The​ ​prototype​ ​is​ ​tested​ ​in​ ​small​ ​scale.​ ​For​ ​example,​ ​the​ ​rubber​ ​is​ ​tested​ ​on​ ​a​ ​wheel,​ ​and when​ ​it’s​ ​considered​ ​as​ ​a​ ​successful​ ​application​ ​for​ ​this​ ​type​ ​of​ ​material,​ ​the prototype​ ​is​ ​tested​ ​in​ ​its​ ​intended​ ​environment,​ ​on​ ​a​ ​roadworthy​ ​vehicle.

• Step​ ​4:​ ​Demonstration​ ​Test
At​ ​the​ ​completion​ ​of​ ​step​ ​3,​ ​the​ ​prototype​ ​is​ ​close​ ​to​ ​completion​ ​and​ ​testing​ ​has​ ​now moved​ ​from​ ​the​ ​laboratory​ ​setting​ ​to​ ​‘real​ ​world’​ ​environment.​ ​The​ ​vehicle​ ​fitted​ ​with the​ ​synthetic​ ​rubber​ ​tyres​ ​is​ ​road​ ​tested​ ​under​ ​close​ ​observation​ ​in​ ​different​ ​weather and​ ​road​ ​conditions,​ ​simulating​ ​driver​ ​experience.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​rigorous​ ​‘pass​ ​or​ ​fail’​ ​test, to​ ​ultimately​ ​determine​ ​its​ ​feasibility​ ​in​ ​the​ ​marketplace.

Step​ ​5: Commercial​ ​Testing​ ​and​ ​Release
Finally,​ ​after​ ​step​ ​4​ ​is​ ​passed,​ ​the​ ​prototype​ ​is​ ​now​ ​proven​ ​to​ ​work​ ​under​ ​expected conditions​ ​and​ ​meets​ ​statutory​ ​and​ ​safety​ ​requirements​ ​for​ ​production​ ​​in the Australian marketplace.​ ​Manufacturing​ ​rights​ ​are​ ​then​ ​sold​ ​and​ ​the​ ​product​ ​is​ ​ready for​ ​commercial​ ​release.​ ​The​ ​licensed​ ​tyre​ ​companies​ ​then​ ​use​ ​market​ ​research​ ​to inform​ ​them​ ​about​ ​the​ ​best​ ​strategies​ ​to​ ​use​ ​to​ ​sell​ ​this​ ​new​ ​product​ ​type​ ​into​ ​the marketplace.

Through​ ​accessing​ ​independent​ ​advice​ ​and​ ​a​ ​tough​ ​TRL​ ​process,​ ​services​ ​provided​ ​by Procept,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​save​ ​time,​ ​money​ ​and​ ​de-risk​ ​the​ ​road​ ​to​ ​commercial​ ​release.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​give us​ ​time,​ ​we’ll​ ​give​ ​you​ ​confidence​ ​to​ ​become​ ​market​ ​ready.

For​ ​further​ ​information​ ​of​ ​TRL’s,​ ​feel free to contact myself-
Rob Crowder: +61 3 9079 0484

For​ ​further​ ​reading​ ​refer​ ​to​ ​the​ ​following​ ​European​ ​Association​ ​of​ ​Research​ ​and​ ​Technology Organisations .

Rob Crowder
About the author

Rob Crowder

Rob is Procept’s product guy. He helps customers figure out what a valuable product is for the market they’re entering. This includes … Read full bio