Product Development and Commercialization

Product development includes not only the creation and launch of new products but also modification or updates to existing products and initiatives to introduce changes to the overall development program including quality improvements, reduction of time to market, enhanced collaboration with suppliers, plant modernization and technology updates.  Regardless of the focus the goal of the product development process should be to find new and innovative ways to meet customer needs that are not currently being served by the company.  Successful product development is essential for launching a company and for ensuring that the company continues to survive and prosper as competitive conditions and customer requirements change over time, and while a good deal of product development efforts focus on building the company’s existing product line they can also be used to vault the company into an entirely new set of activities, markets and/or industries.  In many industries product development is a core competency that must be acquired and nurtured in order for a company to remain in business and companies have come to realize that they must commit a substantial amount of their investible R&D funds to new product development.  No one academic or organizational discipline can claim complete ownership of product innovation and it has attracted the interest of researchers whose primary focus includes economics, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, operations research and organizational behavior.

The Sustainable Entrepreneur’s Library of Resources for Product Development and Commercialization consists of seven Parts.  Part I surveys the various determinants of product innovation, including external factors and elements of the specific organizational context, and describes the traditional product development process, including the role of each functional group in the development and launch of new products; identification and selection of new product opportunities; creation and evaluation of new product concepts; technical and marketing aspects of the actual development of new products; strategies and procedures for launching new products; and modifications or updates to existing products. The Part also discusses various strategic and organizational issues that commonly arise in connection with product development activities.  Finally, the Part surveys variations on strategies and processes relating to new product development in different environmental and institutional contexts, particularly developing countries.  With respect to the external environment for new product development the Part discusses research on how various factors that are part of any company’s external environment influence innovation including technology, demand, regulatory and legal constraints, patents and other intellectual property rights, suppliers, market conditions, the industry in which the company is operating and societal culture.  Similarly, the influence of organizational context is discussed with a specific emphasis on acquisition of inputs and resources for new product development, organizational strategy, organizational structure and internal group processes, leadership, organizational politics, organizational knowledge management and design technologies.

Part II describes the typical activities companies engaged in with respect to research and development (“R&D”) and also discusses strategic planning for R&D, planning for internal research projects and management of outsourcing arrangements.  Part III discusses purchasing activities and includes an overview of the typical activities in the purchasing area, including the role of the purchasing manager and the relationship of the purchasing function to new product development.  The Part also covers strategic planning for purchasing, management and organizational issues in the purchasing area, the order and fulfillment process and supply chain management.  Part IV covers the typical activities in the manufacturing area and includes discussions of strategic planning for manufacturing, management and organizational issues in the manufacturing area and negotiation and documentation of outsourcing arrangements.

Part V makes the transition from generating ideas for new products and building those products to commercialization by focusing on sales and distribution activities, including the steps that companies need to take to create and develop sales channels for the company’s products in selected target markets (e.g., direct sales, telemarketing, sales agents, distributors etc.).  Specific chapters in this Part cover strategic planning for sales and distribution activities, organization and management of the sales function, sales compensation plans, negotiation of direct sales contracts, establishment and management of alliances with outside sales agent and distributors and customer service and support.  Part VI discusses marketing and public relations activities, an area that is concerned with supporting the efforts of the sales group to promote the company’s products to prospective customers, collecting and analyzing information regarding the requirements of customers and their perceptions of the company and its products, identifying ways in which the company and its products can deliver value to customers and managing the planned communications by the company to each of its stakeholders.  Specific chapters in this Part cover the legal and regulatory considerations related to marketing and advertising activities, strategic planning for marketing, organizing and managing the marketing function, developing a product marketing plan and selecting and managing a public relations firm.  Part VII describes the special steps that should be taken to effective market and sale products and publicize the company generally in the online environment.

PROJECT PUBLICATIONS

Product Development: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Research and Development: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Purchasing: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Manufacturing: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Sales and Distribution: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Marketing: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Online Marketing and Sales Activities: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Project Articles on Product Development and Commercialization

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Books

Organizational Strategies and the Sales Function

Product Life Cycle Management – Guide to New Product Development

Product Manager Handbook

Sales Force Organization

Sales Leadership, Management and Supervision

Sales Organization Structure and Sales Force Deployment

Legal Compliance Checkups: Business Clients

Business Counselor’s Law & Compliance Practice Manual

Chapters or Articles in Books

Strategic Challenges and Change for Supply Chains

Articles in Journals

Developing Sustainable Products and Services

Green Supplier Selection Decision

Is It Real – Can We Win – Is It Worth Doing?

Issues in Supply Chain Management

Managing Technology Development Projects

Supply Chain Management – Theory, Practice and Future Challenges

Sustainable Manufacturing and Design

Vendor Management – Critical Component of Privacy Compliance

Theses and Dissertations

Business Analysis Process of New Product Development

Foundation for Sustainable Product Development

Managing R&D Processes

Papers

Behind Every Great Product – Role of the Product Manager

Best Practices in New Product Development

Designing Products and Services with Sustainable Attributes

Global Supply Chain Management

Product and Service Innovation in SMEs

Sales Agent versus Company Sales Force

Sales Forces Strategies for a Competitive Advantage

Small Firm Innovation in Non-Clustered Regions

Sustainable Products

Top 12 Product Management Mistakes

Government and Other Public Domain Publications

Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Product Standard

OECD Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit

Sustainable Procurement Guide

Online Databases

Business Transactions Solution

WEBINARS AND PODCASTS

West Legal Ed Center:  Click here for list of all programs presented by the Business Counselor Institute, an affiliate of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Project, on West Legal Ed Center. Programs relating to product development and commercialization include several videos prepared for the Beyond the Bar training initiative and the following webinars (available on demand):

Business Counselor Institute on West Legal Ed Center

  • Supply Chain Management (11.2014)

Beyond the Bar Training Programs

  • Product Development
  • Counseling the Research and Development Function
  • Counseling the Purchasing Function
  • Counseling the Manufacturing Function
  • Counseling the Sales and Distribution Function