The development of a new product or a new technology, complex, interesting, and demanding though it may be in its own way, is really only as useful as the manufactured product that emerges from it. Without that useful output, sold either to the public or to a business customer, technology development is merely an intellectual exercise. It therefore makes sense that the development process, from the outset, should be aligned as closely as possible with the business and manufacturing strategy for exploiting it commercially. The emphasis here is on the word outset; seeking alignment after much effort has been invested is always less efficient and will run into ‘not invented here’ issues.
At the tactical level, this could simply mean that a new product should be designed so that it can be made easily – ‘design for manufacture’ – and that is always good practice.
However, there are some more fundamental considerations, such as:
- Who will make the various components of the product and who will assemble it?
- Will there be just one product, will there be various options, or will there be some ...