All Hands on Deck

MESH01 Product Development Planning

The planning phase of the product development process is infamous for being complex and – at times – difficult to dial in. This is where you need to start working with suppliers and manufacturers to get your product made on time and at the right price points. During this step of the process, you’ll have full control of the “where” and “how” aspects, but the “when” resides with which suppliers and manufacturers you decide to work with.

When Will the Product Launch?

When you reach this point in the development phase, you’ll already know when you want your product to launch. In larger organizations, this is often determined by the seasonal product development calendars. However, you will be partnering with suppliers and manufacturers, so that can change. It’s important to find the right resources that:

  • Fit within your project budget
  • Meet your capabilities and capacity needs
  • Have excellent quality control
  • Are environmentally responsible
  • Can meet their deadlines on time

Another important factor in choosing the right group to work with is being able to build a lasting relationship. You want to make sure you’re working with resources that you can rely on for future products as well. This saves time and money, overall.

Where Is Your Product Being Sold?

Aside from your customers, no one knows the market better than you. With market trends changing and buying patterns shifting, now is a good time to consider where you want to place your product. You already have a good idea of where your products have performed well in the past, this could be a good opportunity to expand into other areas.

With the changing retail environment, you’ve probably already figured out that a large portion of your sales and promotion of your product will happen online. But, are your plans for in-store, brick-and-mortar options? Are you a big box brand? This is the time in the product development process when you need to start planning for the anticipated channels.

How Are You Navigating to a Successful Launch?

If you’ve figured out the when and where you can take on the how with confidence. There are a lot of things to consider during this step and a majority of them rely on outside sources that can meet your demands. Some things to consider are:

  • How is the product being manufactured?
  • How are you marketing it?
  • How will it be packaged?

This also requires you to start working more closely with other teams inside your company. You’ll need to make sure you’re working with your purchasing and manufacturing departments. Members of your marketing and sales team will play a crucial role in taking this milestone.

Other Things to Consider

With all hands on deck at this point, you’ve got a lot of departments within your company helping to make this venture a success. Each department has its role to play – from sourcing to packaging to marketing and social media efforts. This is where all of the pieces fall into place.

Currently, two of the largest factors in manufacturing are country of origin and sustainability. Each project provides an opportunity to revisit where your product is being made, how it’s being made, and what it’s being made from.

Overall, a major factor in the planning phase is timing. Internally, everything needs to line up just right. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re keeping lines of communication open. Nobody enjoys a day full of meetings, but they provide opportunities to address changes or delays.

Externally, vendors need to be prepared for your product. At a minimum, this includes making sure there is shelf space allocated. This could also include product training, changes to websites, as well as marketing and social media campaigns. That said, timing and communication are crucial.

Attention to Details

Aside from staying informed and making sure all the key players are talking to one another, the planning phase is where you find out how well you did in completing previous phases in the product development process.

For example, one supplier may not be able to deliver on time. Another supplier might be able to get you your product on time, but it might cost you more money. This is where the research phase and any feedback you collected during the design phase can pay off in spades.

Once you figure out all of this, you’re ready to bring in your core customers for the next phase: Pre-Launch Product Testing.

For the first half of 2024, we’re going to be releasing informed content related to the Product Development process. We feel that there’s never been a better time than right now to share the tenets of this process, as well as our experience with it and how we’re prepared to help your brand take it on, head-on.

Subscribe to our blog to make sure you stay informed.