Although we are still in the early stages of the building materials market showing the growth of previous decades, it will not take too long for the capacity to catch up with the demand on even the most arduous production commissioning programmes. Changes are then inevitable and can generate significant potential.
With legislation changes, the continual drive for greater sustainability, not to speak of changing aspirations and tastes, a fantastic opportunity is likely to occur for new product development in all product sectors. It is a well known fact that every business needs to innovate to stay ahead of the competition. No business can continue to offer the same unchanged products; otherwise sales would decrease and profits reduce. What makes this even more exciting is customers are crying out for it.
It is critical for every company’s marketing or product team to listen carefully to their market, their employees, their customers and its influencers through all of the steps of the supply chain. An inherent danger in some smaller organisations may be overlooking the importance of the time required to generate these ideas, understanding how it benefits customers and identifying how competitors might react. In its broadest sense this research is the key to the level of success that may be derived from any new product initiative.
Innovation can come from anywhere and should not be limited to the core product and just the colour, shape or size of your ‘widget’. Product packaging or handling features can also offer options as well as recycling and impact on the environment. It is often possible to identify innovation opportunities through helping overcome your customers’ challenges.
New product development (NPD) always remains key, even during recession. In fact is it possible to suggest it is even more vital during the difficult times to ensure we continue to meet the added value needs of customers. NPD needs to be at the heart of the daily operations of the organisations. It should be given space on the board and management meeting agendas. A good idea could always be subject to an incentive with the staff to help ensure ideas are forthcoming.
Inevitably, the only way NPD will become intrinsic to any business is if someone in the organisation becomes a ‘champion’ in making it happen.
Tim Heard – June 2015
Previously Sales & Marketing Director for a leading independent Heavyside manufacturer.