Bringing untested assumptions to the product development process can lead to a host of preventable frustrations and costly mistakes. While the truth of certain product development assumptions may appear to be self-evident, closer examination reveals them as myths. Take care to ensure your business doesn’t fall prey to these or other common myths that can derail your product development and hurt your bottom line.
Myth #1: 100% utilization of resources will lead to enhanced performance.
It’s easy for a product developer to reason that the more time employees invest in a product, the more efficient they’ll be. The problem with this assumption is that it’s based on faulty reasoning. Human beings are not machines and product development is qualitatively different from manufacturing. When managers fail to recognize the difference between product development and manufacturing, they compromise rather than enhance speed, efficiency, and output.
Unlike machines and manufacturing, both humans and product development processes entail high variability since the tasks intrinsic to the latter are unpredictable and non-repetitive. With automated processes like manufacturing, a 10 percent increase in production volume translates to 10 percent more time to complete, but these metrics don’t hold with product development. With product development, assigning a team 10 percent more work may result in a 100 percent increase in the time required to complete it. Applying linear reasoning to non-linear processes is a recipe for trouble.
Myth #2: Manufacturing products in large batches is the most cost-effective.
Though there can be obvious cost benefits to higher volume orders, using this metric alone can be an incredibly expensive oversight. The benefits of large volume production can quickly be outweighed by less obvious drawbacks, and it is these drawbacks that lean manufacturing first emerged to overcome.
Lean manufacturing is an approach that relies on “just-in-time” production to drastically reduce waste, increase productivity, improve lead times, streamline processes, enhance quality, promote sustainability, raise employee morale, and boost profits. When looking for a product manufacturer, lean practices are crucial to realizing ROI on prior product development, and single-source manufacturers like Pivot International have elevated lean practices to an art.
Myth #3: The more features a product has, the more desirable to consumers it will be.
Consumers seem to have a hard time understanding that less is often more, at least until after they’ve purchased a product. Studies have shown that prior to purchase, consumers place more value on how many “bells and whistles” a product has, only to realize after purchase that a wealth of features often translates to a less-than-friendly user experience.
In other words, once customers have been enticed by and purchased exceptionally “feature-rich” products, they find their user experience compromised by the complexity of these very features. Though more opportunistic companies might see this as a good thing by reasoning that the sale of the product is where the profit lies, this reasoning is unsound (not to mention disingenuous) as it takes into account neither the consumer nor product lifecycle.
Finding the proper threshold for the number of features that attract consumers without compromising their user experience is the “sweet spot” of product development. Collaborating with a professional designer or engineer can help you better identify this sweet spot and make the product development process smoother, faster, and more profitable.
If you’re trying to bring a product to market and could use professional design or engineering support, or if you’ve completed the product development phases and are looking for a lean manufacturer, we can help. At Pivot International, we’re a collaborative design, development and manufacturing firm with over 46 years of experience in helping businesses profitably realize their product’s potential. Interested in learning what a partnership with Pivot might mean to you and your product? Reach out to us today and consult with one of our design professionals for free.