The 5 Important Steps You Need to Know About Process Development
Since the beginning of time, innovation has always been driven by unique ideas as well as the ability to actually bring those ideas to life and this is where process development has a role to play. In ancient Greece, innovators such as Galilee Galileo understood the rudiments of process development which was why he was able to consistently complete his innovative works in a time where most engineers where vilified for tardiness which resulted to unfinished projects.
It is important to first provide a definition of what process development is before moving to discuss the steps associated with it and its benefits. Process development is the different techniques one employs to optimise the performance of manufacturing systems and the production cycles they are responsible for. This field is dominated by process development scientists and engineers who are tasked with producing new ideas efficiently.
As with every system, there are important steps one must know and take in order to execute certain tasks with precision and process development is no different. So here, we will discuss some of the more important steps every entrepreneur or engineer must consider including during a product development cycle.
Acing the Ideation Stage
Unlike what Hollywood has got most of us to believe, the first step to coming up with a winning idea must not always be defined by the proverbial ‘light bulb moment’. There are many more practical ways and methods that can be employed in developing solid ideas before going into production.
Studying the trends—there are always interesting trends that can be leveraged upon that pervade the entertainment, sports or IOT industry. A great example is the development of the selfie stick which took advantage of the trendy use of smart phone cameras.
SWOT analysis—this focuses on conducting a market research with the aim of developing solutions that address a pressing need in certain niche industries. The analysis consists of checking out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats new ideas are faced with.
A tip entrepreneurs must note during the ideation stage, is coming up with multiple idea which a SWOT analysis can be applied on to check their viability.
Screening for Viable Ideas
Here is where you start digging into the ‘meat of the matter’ by separating the wheat from the shaft. The aim of this step is to separate viable ideas from non-viable ones using lean design techniques to test out your multiple ideas. There are a few ways to do this but the most economical is making use of a computer aided design tool to develop digital drawings of your idea and compare their pros and cons.
The use of CAD is highly recommended due to its lean approach to creating ideas in digital form. With CAD applications such as Revit, Solid Works and Maya, you could also apply external forces to see how your ideas will last once pressure or force is exerted on it. Creating digital pieces of the chosen ideas gives you a much more objective view of how others will view the innovations you intend to showcase to a global audience.
Developing a Prototype
There are multiple reasons to why creating a prototype is the next logical step to take during a process development cycle. A prototype is generally the first design or creation of a fully functional model of your idea. This could either be a digital or physical prototype depending on your needs. The reasons why a prototype must be built includes:
Testing out your concept—a readily available prototype provides a ready means to check out certain concepts integrated into your product functions. This will provide you with the necessary feedback needed to fine-tune your ideas according to your earlier SWOT analysis.
Raising funds—when looking for capital to simplify the entire process of taking your product to market, a prototype is definitely needed for presentation purposes when speaking with potential investors.
You can either employ the much cheaper manufacturing technique of 3D printing to develop your product or CNC machining depending on the product’s design.
Understanding the Technicalities of Product Development
There are many aspects to developing a product for any market and once you have gotten a prototype, the next step is cross-checking your product against set regulations and compliance certificate in your products niche. Why is this important? Imagine moving immediately to the manufacturing stage without ensuring that every set guideline is followed. The possibility of your product going on sale in any clime is next to zero and this takes you back to stage one.
Therefore, it is important to outline the organizations and third-party certification bodies native to your product’s industry, cross check their requirements and then ensure your entire products and its accessories is built with them in mind. Once this is done, getting your product certified and ready to go to market will proceed without any conceivable hitches from the government.
Going to Market
For most entrepreneurs and engineers, going to market is something they feel has nothing to do with process development due to the belief that once the great idea has been developed, customers will come running. Sadly, this is hardly true which makes having a marketing plan on how you intend to introduce the public to your product a key aspect of a successful development process. During the final stage of completing the production cycle for your project, you may require the aid of market researchers and top sales people to get the job done.
A practical look at products on gofundme.com and other funding platforms showcases how entrepreneurs integrate their go to market plans with other steps on this list. These entrepreneurs, raise money, sell their innovative products and capture a market size at the same time.