The global marketplace continues to place demands on companies to turn out new and improved products ever faster, while at the same time, meeting the never-ending expectations of consumers. Many companies start with an innovative product, only to see its popularity fade and the competition outperform them by simply standing pat with their existing product line.
There are a number of reasons for such failures, including poor planning and celebrating victory instead of recognizing that success demands an even greater effort from management. One particular aspect of success that constantly challenges management is controlling product growth and development. Growing too fast can lead to substandard quality control measures due to the sheer demand for product. The other aspect, development, can sink a company’s aspirations because the focus is on getting the product out the door instead of holding firm to the quality standards that got the company to its current market position.
Particularly, the problem with new product development is a laxity that results from a failure to be patient and recognize that product development takes time. It is unlikely that the original product which got the business off the ground was designed and assembled in a matter of a few months. Steps were planned out and care was taken to make sure the product was marketable and met the specific needs of the consumer.
The biggest problem with any new product development is testing. More than a few companies have attempted to use shortcuts to move products out of the door – and profit in. Today’s consumers are more particular and have more choices than ever before. This means that even a product offering to brand loyal customers can fail if it does not meet with customer expectations or needs.
Steps throughout the development process need to be evaluated constantly. Input from consumers is an absolute requirement that will increase the success of a product and make it relevant to consumers when it hits the market. For example, while Apple Computer’s iWatch was almost a certainty to become a reality, the exact timetable was unknown. That did not prevent other companies from developing wrist-wearable technology for a niche market – people who were regular workout enthusiasts. When Apple announced its iWatch and subsequent release date, the companies who were marketing their wearable technology took note, but did not change their marketing strategy or product development. They recognized that the iWatch is not for everyone, either because of its projected high price or the kinds of features it offers buyers.
There is no point is other companies trying to imitate the iWatch. The reasons are obvious. At the same time, these companies can look for other ways to innovate and improve their product that will continue to make them competitive in the industry. Rushing the development steps and not going through the quality control process and testing increases the possibility of failing on a number of levels.
To maintain quality control and the success of the company, management must recognize the importance of keeping in tune with the consumer and avoiding the tendency to rush because the competition will be one step ahead. Loyal customers will remain loyal as long as their voices are heard and the company is responsive to their needs.