Items Needed for Product Road Maps

All dressed up and no place to go? Is it because you don’t have any new products to sell into the market place? To continuously supply product into your company’s manufacturing stream one needs to estimate the need, quantity and timing along with a few other factors discussed below. If this does not happen, revenue streams will drop and lay-offs can occur, so it is up to marketing to lead in this effort but has to be supported by all functions in the company, namely sales, engineering, manufacturing and quality control. Here are some thoughts to make this happen.

1. Product Definition. Here is where up-front marketing is important. One needs to align a new product with the core competencies of the company. Namely, if you only build square blocks but the customers being approached need balls are you equipped to support the need? Do you want to get equipped to support this market? And if you want to ramp up into a new product area is there time to meet demand from the market? How will you compete with established suppliers (refer to my EzineArticle “5 Steps to Successful Sales Closure”)? This will require inputs from all departments as everyone will be involved when or if this product goes to market – design, manufacturing, quality and sales. So defining the product in as much detail as possible is a key element to making the decision whether or not to move forward.

2. Timing. The need for the product defined in #1 above must be established early on. If your company is about to enter a new market is there time to prepare to capture business? Is there time to establish goals within to meet the need? Typically, the first to enter a market dominate so to come in late is much less successful. Timing is critical. And if the product is in the core capabilities of the company, timing is still critical. New products always push the technical and manufacturing capabilities so these must be assessed in making preparations to pursue.

3. Forecasted Quantities. In order to estimate the ROI (Return On Investment) within a company, one of the key parameters is the forecasted quantities over a period of time and the rate they will be needed. This will help estimate sizing the manufacturing lines and getting ready to meet demand, which may need to hire and train new personnel or purchase equipment. So quantities are clearly an important consideration in defining the market roadmap.

4. Unit Price. Together with forecasted quantities the unit price must be estimated. This will feed directly into the ROI analyses as well as the annual bottom line for the company. Squeezing out every means possible from engineering to design for ease of manufacturing but still meeting the product performance from #1 above, paying for investments and generating an efficient production line are all needed so that the sale price at the time of entry will reflect a profitable line during manufacturing.

5. Market. Knowing where the product will be used helps to determine the engineering requirements, manufacturing needs and quality control parameters. It also helps to give a feeling of security if it is going into a lucrative market as research can be done on that market to see where the growth will be and begin to lay plans to explore those avenues for future needs. This will bring you back to #1 and the process starts all over.

So the key elements in developing a roadmap start with a product specification. It is important to know when the product will be needed by the customer, what the price point is to ensure the development is done accordingly, quantities for production identified and the market potential defined by knowing the application. This is the life cycle in a corporation.

For more information, please visit my website as it is continually updated. Also I will be releasing a series of YouTube videos discussing a number of topics in more details. If there is anything I can do to help you please let me know.