The Product Development Process: The Importance of the Plan
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately generate into hard work”, said Peter Drucker.
The most successful product development firms realize that the planning stage is just as important as the execution and follow-through phases. In the early periods, it is crucial to define objectives, outline deliverables, and discuss measurable results. By deeply understanding the client’s end goals, the product developer can attack the project and produce the best outcomes. When a product development partner has experience in the different areas of design and manufacturing, an industry focus, and a thorough understanding of the client’s end goals, they are optimally positioning their partners for success.
Product development companies must always look to make their clients more efficient, consider ever-changing regulatory issues, and make systematic adjustments for optimal success. A well-rounded background in the areas of operations, sales, and research makes for the best partner, as it provides the proper insight into what it takes to excel in commercializing a product. When a developer has a background in contract design and manufacturing, the pros and cons of each approach have been experienced and can be integrated into optimal future processes. When a developer is involved in and has experience with both aspects, they are most successful in meeting the client’s desired end goals.
Additionally, specialization in the particular product industry is crucial. Understanding the operating environment and comprehending the potential challenges results in a solid end product. Specialization in the industry can also produce positive lessons learned. Related experiences assist the developer in understanding potential challenges so they can address them head on and even plan for them in advance. Often times, the customer presents a detailed outlook and performance objectives for their proposed product, but they haven’t thought about the regulatory strategy and their responsibility for submission. With industry awareness, an informed developer can educate and supplement the client’s understanding, as they can prepare for the elements that the customer has not considered.
Client’s End Goals
A thorough understanding of the client’s economics is extremely important. A true partner needs to know the economic targets from conception so they have the best chance at meeting their client’s end goals. The best partner not only consults and designs devices for their clients, but they also produce them. From initial conception discussions, developers should be considering manufacturability as well as the targeted sales price, margins, and cost of goods. In knowing this information, they can consider how to design the product for optimal development from day one. There are often delays associated with the transfer to manufacturing, requiring design verification and validation into manufacturing. This could result in design reiteration and major time and cost loses, but when the elements are considered from the start, there are fewer margins for error.
The Lighthouse Method
At Lighthouse Imaging, there’s an equal focus on project planning and execution. All angles of development are considered early on and when it comes to taking action, there’s no shortage of effort. The company values a solid game plan and they have experienced the benefit in defining expectations and milestones on day one.
With a diverse background in different areas of product development, a specialization in the endoscopy industry, and clear insight into their client’s end goals they are able to provide the best end solution.
Lighthouse considers lessons from previous projects, their medical knowledge, and their partner’s wants and needs very early on so efficient work can begin immediately. Since the early ‘80s, Lighthouse Imaging has specialized in endoscopy and has gained a worldwide reputation. They understand the operating environment of their products and comprehend the challenges associated with creating a device that properly functions in the appropriate medical procedures. The requirement for every endoscopic procedure is different and Lighthouse knows the technical requirements related to illumination and image quality. This industry knowledge combined with their preparedness and diverse background makes them a superior product development partner.