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6.02 - Best Practice – Strategic Framework


The new product introduction (NPI) process is one of the two primary business processes:-

A Process model of Manufacturing

Product introduction is a highly complex activity. It can be more easily understood by studying some of constituent parts:-

Strategic Framework

NPI Strategic Framework

New Product Introduction must be considered in a strategic framework. Top level decisions and policies determine, to a large extent, the overall product introduction performance.

Product Strategy

The product strategy is the plan for the products; it documents how the products support the business strategy. It covers:-

  • What new products are to be sold and to whom and in what volumes?
  • The new products that need to be developed?
  • Which products are to be removed from the product range?
  • The platform products and product modules required.

Together with the Marketing Strategy (see guide 1.03), the Product Strategy determines the architecture of the NPI process. A platform product is a basic product, that with relatively minor changes, can be developed into a series of products or it can form the basis of a product family. Once a platform has been developed new products can be rapidly introduced at a low cost. The automobile industry exemplifies this approach to design – a base car is developed and then sold in many planned variants, e.g. 1.6L, 2.0GLX, 2.0CDX etc.

Technology Strategy

The Technology Strategy identifies how the company is to work with various product and process technologies:-

  • Research & Development plans for core technologies (technologies that are critical to the success of the business).
  • Design modules that can be incorporated into several products and / or platforms (see guides 6.18 & 6.20)

Modular design decreases part variety, design costs, risk, and time to market – it should be used wherever possible.

Measures of Performance for NPI

Measures of Performance (MOPs) for new product introduction should be derived from the measures on the business as a whole (see guide 5.21) there are, however, some issues around MOPs that are unique to new product introduction that must be addressed:-

  • It’s difficult to isolate New Product Introduction’s contribution to business performance from the other activities
  • The time lag between NPI effort and financial return makes it difficult to make timely decisions.
  • By definition, NPI projects are all different and unique. Consequently, it is difficult to make comparisons of one project with another. Just because one project lasted six months does not necessarily mean that an improvement for the next project would be five months.

Some engineers believe that MOPs for NPI discourages creativity.

The type of NPI project determines the measurement technique that should be adopted.

The Relevance of the Different Measurement Techniques

Relevance of MOPs to NPI

Further Reading