When taking part daily in New Product Development (NPD) projects, it may become difficult to take a moment and step back to look at the big picture again. This is what we offer you today. An overview- because this subject could be worthy a thesis- of the constraints or influences that weigh on Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) development projects.
1. Your company
There are many things that define your company: its name, values, history, employees, brand image, reputation, etc. and ultimately what people will pay for: your product or service. Your product is the embodiment of your identity and value proposition. Do you differentiate yourself with “organic and ethically sourced products”? Do you cater to the needs of people with special diets such as gluten free? Are you committed to an ISO standard?
The very identity of your organization sets limits and conditions on your products even before they start being developed.
Your employees and corporate members also shape it. The Executive Committee and shareholders take the strategic decision for the company’s roadmap and future, your management practices and whether your resources are rushed or stimulated, your NPD teams (Marketing, Packaging, R&D, etc.), the team spirit people choose or not to develop and so on. A company remains first of all a group of women and men collaborating together towards a common objective.
2. Your clients
Whether your clients are retailers or other manufacturers, empowering the following will sustainably increase customer satisfaction:
- Quality – The product you deliver must be up to your client’s expectations ;
- Safety – Your product must respect all safety regulatory requirements for its category. You do not want to be accountable for client’s reputation bad buzz because of one faulty product ;
- Punctuality – Deliver the products, services or documents on time and maintain a transparent relationship with your clients on potential delays ;
- Readability – The documents and information you will provide to your clients should be clearly readable and properly formatted ;
- Accessibility – You should provide your clients a trouble-free access to the documents, information or data they need. You want their feedback and approval on the packaging? Grant them a secured and controlled access to your packaging management tool and allow them to integrate directly their comments on your prototype(s) ;
- Reliability – You need to provide your clients perfectly accurate documents, information and data.
- Consistency – Finally, all of these must be enforced throughout every project you lead and product your develop.
Note most of these recommendations remain valid for your partners. Making the information clear and easily accessible on time will only smoothen your relationship with them and consolidate a more profitable collaboration.
3. Your market
This is no breaking news but we must mention it. Your competitors’ innovations and strategies will somehow influence the decisions you make about your current or new products.
Is our goal to release our yearly incremental innovation before our main competitor, or to synchronize it with a specific event? In both cases, accurately controlling the time-to-market of your product is your top priority, but you will not manage it the same way. The former situation needs a time-to-market as optimized and short as possible, while the latter has an “on-time delivery” obligation. And this manifests in many ways. Are we innovation leaders or do we use already established trends to differentiate ourselves? Are we going international to stay ahead of the competition or do we expand on sub-segments of our industry? All these questions shape your priorities and philosophy for NPD projects.
Other timely constraints, unrelated to your competition, will pace your NPD activity and operations.
- Seasonality: Easter, July 4th, Christmas, etc.
- Social events: sports competitions, fashion shows, music festivals, etc.
- Regulatory obligations: limited time to comply with a new law on ingredients, renew a product certificate, answer to authorities’ requests, etc.
Transitioning to the matter of regulations, we explained in a previous post why regulatory compliance was the biggest challenge for global product management. However, the task is already time consuming and demands strong expertise when playing only national.
Extract: “Every State (California), country (United-States) or politico-economic alliance (European Union) has their own sets of rules, with their common lots of exceptions regarding which one dominates over the other(s). Then, regulations on Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) are built in a pyramidal-like structure : “Any manufactured product must satisfy the followings: …” > “Any dairy product must satisfy the followings: …” > “Any non-pasteurized cheese must satisfy the followings: …”, and so on.”
Then comes the incredible wide span of items that are regulated: packaging material, labeling font size, mandatory logos and mentions, ingredient exclusions and restrictions, specific nomenclature for ingredients or wording for claims, etc. The list goes on and you know your industry better than us. Again, other questions arise. Do you have the internal expertise to stay up to date on all your industries’ regulations? Do you have a reliable way of managing the data and documents related to your products? If you rely on a partner’s expertise, can he securily access your data or do you need to go through cumbersome exports and mails?
Whatever your industry, activity, star product or size is, you can not land, succeed and sustain on a market without taking into consideration all the aforementioned points we discussed, which are far from covering the subject. Your probably understood what we discussed on yourself. However, do you have the tools to conciliate and harmonize all of these? A product that stays true to your identity, easily developed, consistently faultless, delivered on time and compliant with currently enforced regulations ; that is what a Product Lifecycle Management solution adapted to your activity guarantees. Discover Lascom’s SaaS PLM solution: Lascom Lime Cloud.