6.1.6 Summary of key points

The nature of all work tasks involved in the new product development process is characterised by high complexity, unpredictability and multilevel decision-making.  Nowadays there are several New Product Development methods available and each of them should be used and applied following all required steps. The criteria to decide if and when to use a NPD method are cost and risk related although special needs like type of product, production method, etc should be taken into consideration. For SMEs to be successful with the NPD process they need to have a framework/roadmap to base their decisions on and to reduce NPD costs and risk.

The main objective of this component was to present you with some of the main New Product Development methods and their main steps. The widely used Stage-Gate method with all its steps, actions, stages and gates as well as the relative success factors were presented. You have also learnt what is involved in each stage and gate step, and how you should implement it to reduce costs, risks and improve your quality design. Finally we presented you with a case study to see how Stage-Gate NPD method changes and innovation in production units can improve flexibility and quality!