The six most common pitfalls in product development

Product development is a complex process where a lot can go wrong despite the best intentions. What do you want to accomplish with your product? How will you handle information during the process? What tools and expertise are needed for this? How do you handle automation? In this blog article, we take a closer look at the pitfalls and how you can prevent them.

1. Start without a well-thought-out plan

A clear roadmap is essential for a good result. When it is missing, you often start with too little support, insufficient resources or the wrong people. That's why at Innoptus, we always suggest you take the right steps before entering the process. It starts with orientation. What is there to buy in the world? What tools are needed for that? What is possible? What are other companies doing?
Another important part of the product development process is managing and monitoring the progress. That way, you can identify problems in time and move faster. A specialist partner like Innoptus can help you with this.

2. Looking at product development purely as engineering

Product development is more than engineering and continues throughout the whole chain. It starts already with sales and only ends when a product is phased out. You will also need to handle the service.

When you start working on a product, you often start by modelling. This is performed on the computer in 3D CAD, where as much information about the product as possible is added and stored digitally. In an ideal situation, the digital 3D model becomes the guide for all adjustments and edits to the product. In practice, that rich, digital information is often lost because, for example, the drawing becomes the guide.

The benefits of reusing the 3D model throughout the product lifecycle are many.  For example, it allows you to see and animate a model with Augmented Reality. By doing so, you help the production worker in the assembly process and the service engineer to improve their work process. The important thing here is that you have the fundamentals in place and know which CAD model to use.

The larger the company, the more important consistency and retrievability of information becomes within the department, between departments, and with external partners.

3. Using the wrong tools

When choosing a high-end PLM solution, you inevitably encounter one of the big software vendors. While these have broadly similar features, there are also notable differences. Which integrations are required? Are they available, or do they need to be programmed? What CAD system do you use, and can it be integrated with a PLM tool? Can data from the cloud or SaaS services be reused at any point in the product lifecycle?

Compare it to Apple vs Microsoft: Apple has a robust but closed system, which isn't desirable to every user. The same applies to PLM software, which often works fine but fails to prove sufficiently customisable. Therefore, be sure to check which tools best suit your process.

4. Lack of know-how and technical expertise

Companies often assume that product development is their core business. However, that also includes provisioning, configuring and managing a PLM environment. The fact that those tools are complex and require expertise is a realisation that needs to evolve. At that point, people often choose to outsource that part.

Then companies want to stay somewhat up-to-date, so they attend training and education courses. This collaboration, where knowledge is both with the client and with a consulting partner, is the ideal situation.

5. Underestimating the scope

Before deciding what to do as a company, it is important to think carefully about the big picture and what you ultimately want to accomplish. When you define a PLM project, you need to take the implementation into account from the very beginning.
With PLM, we often see that everything starts with engineering, where the need is the greatest. However, the impact of product design goes far beyond just engineering. For example, if you want to use the Internet of Things technology for products in the field, the product design must already take into account placing the right sensors to enable the desired information to be visible in another location or even to interact with the product.  For example, think of Tesla's technology, where the car can be partially remote-controlled. Tesla has created a number of challenges for traditional carmakers. The same could apply to other markets.

6. Insufficient automation

Automation is essential in product development because it can help speed up the development process, reduce costs and increase quality. Nevertheless, its importance is often underestimated: people see it as too expensive or something futuristic. When a disruptive competitor comes along that does bet on this, it can be problematic.

With companies that do this, you will find that the entire process, from initial customer contact to the service and billing, runs smoothly with a very small margin of error. The success of popular players like Coolblue or is largely due to this.

Optimise your product development with Innoptus

Would you rather prevent than cure? Start with a well-thought-out plan, invest in the right tools, never lose sight of the big picture and take advantage of all the automation opportunities.

Would you like to know which tools guarantee more efficient work?