“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 .