New Product DevelopmentHow to Stop Missing NPD Due Dates (survey results)


New Product DevelopmentWhat is more important to meeting new product development due dates, individual engineering productivity or product development efficiency? We surveyed over 160 companies to find out.

Please enjoy the summary below.* For the full report, please visit our sponsor SOLIDWORKS (registration required).

Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview
  • Individual Productivity or Process Efficiency?
  • The Impact of Product Development Efficiency
  • Process Efficiency from Better Collaboration and Coordination
  • Process Efficiency from Data Management
  • How Can Companies Improve NPD Performance?
  • Top Performers Have Better NPD Coordination, Collaboration
  • Top Performers Have Digital Data Continuity
  • Top Performers Have a Cohesive Product Data Model
  • Recommendations and Next Steps
  • About the Research
  • Acknowledgments

Executive Overview

Manufacturers Consistently Miss NPD Targets

New product development (NPD) speed and agility have a clear impact on competitiveness and product profitability. Unfortunately, an earlier Tech-Clarity study found that manufacturers miss project launch dates 45% of the time2. The research also showed that time-to-market demands had increased for about two-thirds of manufacturers.

Engineering Inefficiency is a Big Issue

New product development (NPD) speed and agility have a clear impact on competitiveness and product profitability. Unfortunately, an earlier Tech-Clarity study found that manufacturers miss project launch dates 45% of the time2. The research also showed that time-to-market demands had increased for about two-thirds of manufacturers.

Identifying Best Practices in NPD

Is improving engineering efficiency enough to solve the long-time issue of missed product development dates? We believe there is more to this puzzle. We analyzed survey responses from 167 companies and identified those that were better able to develop products rapidly and efficiently while maintaining product development agility. Then, we analyzed what these “Top Performers” do differently than the poorer-performing “Others.”

Top Performers Streamline NPD with a Cohesive Digital Thread

Researchers found that the Top Performers are more likely to streamline their NPD process by creating digital continuity. In specific, they are twice as likely as Others to have full digital data continuity across phases or steps in their product development process. In a related finding, they are 37% more likely to leverage a common data model across the stages of new product development. This common product definition with full digital continuity creates a cohesive digital thread. The report explains these findings in depth and shares additional capabilities that Top Performers have mastered more than Others. Read more to learn how your company can improve NPD performance and profitability.

Individual Productivity or Process Efficiency?

Time-to-Market Takes More Than Individual Productivity

New Product DevelopmentFirst, let’s be clear that manufacturers can’t choose between individual engineering efficiency and product development speed and agility. They are clearly inextricably related. NPD relies on efficient and effective engineering, but developing a successful product requires input and coordination from multiple disciplines, departments, and the supply chain. Process and project-level challenges can cause productivity loss on a grand scale.

Process Efficiency Outweighs Individual Productivity

When it comes to meeting product development due dates, inefficient NPD processes can make even the most efficient engineering teams miss time-to-market objectives. Researchers asked what has a larger positive impact on meeting product development due dates:

  • Productivity of individual contributors (designers, engineers, etc.)
  • Overall process efficiency (workflows, project execution, collaboration, coordination, working as a team, etc.)
  • Both equally

Only 14% of the respondents indicated that individual productivity had the most significant impact, although about one-quarter of respondents believe it has the same impact as NPD process efficiency. The majority state that overall process efficiency has a greater impact. But that doesn’t mean efficiency should be ignored. Instead, the results show that process inefficiency significantly compounds the issue of wasted time in engineering and causes companies to miss their product time-to-market goals. Manufacturers need both; higher levels of process efficiency and individual productivity.

Recommendations and Next Steps

Improve Product Development Capabilities, Drive NPD Results

Clearly, manufacturers can’t choose between engineering efficiency and product development speed, productivity, and agility. They need both. In addition to reducing non-value-added work in engineering, they must adopt the Top Performers’ best practice processes in order to improve new product development speed, efficiency, and agility.

The challenges and benchmarked capabilities lead us to recommend that manufacturers should streamline new product development with full digital continuity on a common data model, creating a complete digital thread to improve NPD performance. To do this, they should adopt best practice processes and technology.

Streamline Processes and Transitions

Manufacturers should streamline transitions between project phases by:

  • Implementing formal, cross-departmental processes
  • Providing cohesive design and product development data needed for reviews, approvals, and change management

Leverage a Product Innovation Platform 

New Product DevelopmentManufacturers should leverage a product innovation platform that streamlines product development by:

  • Providing a common data model and digital data continuity across product design and development phases
  • Promoting communication and collaboration across departmental boundaries and encouraging project-level coordination

Top Performers more frequently have a single data model that allows engineers and others to directly add their information to the product design, keeping a central, contextual view of the product. Others, though, take a much more disjointed approach. Product innovation platforms support project and process improvements, support digital data continuity, and enhance collaboration. In addition, leading solutions also integrate directly with a wide variety of engineering tools while offering process and data management benefits. This makes product innovation platforms the ideal way to support NPD because they drive individual productivity and project level / process level speed, efficiency, and agility. Manufacturers that leverage both of these benefits have a significant NPD advantage over their competitors.

*This summary is an abbreviated version of the ebook and does not contain the full content. For the full report, please visit our sponsor SOLIDWORKS.

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