Dave's Desk

Top 5 Risks Facing New Product Developers

Despite advancements in engineering technology, new product developers still face numerous development and production risks.  Some of the risks, such as material shortages, are unavoidable but companies can control many of them during development.  What are the main risks faced by new product developers and how can they be avoided? 

One of the biggest problems faced by new product developers is the failure to account for risks and integrate new technology. That’s why engineers must plan for a long development time so they can test their prototypes as much as possible. Delays in the design and production phases can also inflate budgets and delay the product from reaching the market on time.

Engineers must focus on their new product’s certification requirements during the design phase to avoid delays when entering production. Owning the design files lets firms easily integrate the technology into their products without delays.  

Discover the top 5 risks faced by new product developers and learn how to avoid them. 

New Product Development Risks and Challenges 

The excitement of developing a new product is only matched by the risks and challenges that come along with it. Rather than be discouraged, teams can instead identify risks early and plan each stage of development around them. Today, many of the biggest risks for new product developers come from supply chain issues. 

Managing evergreen new product development risks, like technology integration, can significantly reduce your development budget and timeline if teams plan for uncertainties and struggles each step of the way.

1. Failure to Identify Risks

Risk identification is one of the most important aspects of the development stage. This is especially true when working with new versus mature technologies. This is a great opportunity to identify and fix compatibility issues and risks before entering production. 

Product developers often run into trouble when working with new, untested technologies without properly adjusting the development schedule to accommodate additional learning curves. Time waste is a huge risk when working with new technology, so it’s important to plan for a longer development time. This will naturally increase the development budget, so first focus on which pieces and aspects of the product carry the most risks.  

While it’s tempting to develop new technology, teams can save money in the development stage with known technologies on PCBs tailored directly to the requirements of the product. This gives the development team greater insights from the PCB developer who helps identify risks, easily budget the development cycle, and enter production on schedule.  

2. Slow Design Phase

Every stage of product development can affect the product rollout, and that starts with the design phase. It’s easy to overlook technology integration when designing a product that utilizes technology that hasn’t been used before. That’s why the team must settle on a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be reasonably worked with and adapted as the project progresses.  

The easiest way to delay the design phase is to continually add new features and functions without a technology roadmap. Instead, focusing on features will add to the development cycle, and decide whether they’re worth it. It’s all too easy to add late-game additions that slow the design phase and inflate your budget.  

Of course, the MVP can be adjusted to suit the end goals for the product, but teams must be highly selective. It’s infinitely helpful to use a third-party developer to design the MVP and adjust accordingly from there. That way, many of the steps will already be laid out, and can be easily integrated into the existing technology roadmap.   

3. Struggles With New Technology

It’s no secret that technology integration comes along with many uncertainties. Ambitious developers who incorporate technology they aren’t familiar with must typically deal with more trial and error. Not only does this inflate the development budget, but it can eventually delay production.  

Development teams can eliminate delays when collaborating with electronic engineering specialists, like DE Design Works, who have a long history of new technology integration. That way, they help plan for and alleviate uncertainties when working with unfamiliar software and firmware. Struggles are common when working with technology not used before, so plan for them in advance. It’s much easier when something has been done before, but there will still be hurdles. 

Working with electronics engineering experts lets you easily integrate their work into the design phase of your product. These specialists integrate technology, both new and old, into new products all the time. This will help you keep the product on schedule, avoid design issues, and enter production smoothly. 

4. Overlook Certification Requirements and Early Performance Results

The only way to identify performance flaws is to rigorously test during design phases. Teams must continually test their prototypes as performance flaws can appear at any stage of development. Ideally, it is important to understand the certification requirements for the product early in development.  

That way, teams can plan for product certification requirements at each stage of development. The worst-case scenario is entering production and realizing the product doesn’t meet the requirements of the target market. Integrating and compliance testing ensures that the product gets to market quickly and is fully compliant with regulations. 

This ultimately saves money and helps avoid late-game problems that may delay distribution. When collaborating with electronic engineering specialists like DE Design Works, we can help meet certification requirements that often get overlooked when beginning the design. It’s better to create a technology roadmap around these certifications than to struggle to incorporate them before production later in the process.   

5. Production Delays

It’s no secret that production delays have become increasingly common in the past several years. Supply chain issues have recently affected 78% of manufacturers, and they can affect all new product developers. Not only does this delay product rollout, but it can also increase production budgets. 

That’s why planning for inflated supply costs and unavailable materials is critical. It’s possible not to encounter these problems, but it’s important to at least incorporate them into the risk assessment process. It’s much easier to avoid production delays when utilizing custom technology solutions.  

By using custom technologies, development teams can reduce reliance on suppliers where no existing relationship exists. In addition, custom technologies can help avoid issues related to software design and integration that could otherwise cause production delays. It's important to note that supply chain and distribution problems may still occur, but proper planning can help mitigate these issues.  

Risk Mitigation Doesn’t Have to Be Hard 

Risk mitigation is the best way to keep new product developments on track. It’s a great idea to have dedicated risk assessment personnel, but the whole team should work toward the same goal. The less teams leave to chance, the greater return they receive for new product development and production.  

  • Examine and learn from past product development flaws. Closely examine past new product development problems that made the team struggle to stay on schedule. This will help save time, money, and the stress of development and production delays.  
  • Develop personalized hardware and firmware design that are owned by the development team. This will help maintain control throughout development making it easier to adjust and adapt as needed.  This will save time by eliminating the need to force your product to work with technology owned by another supplier who owns the design files. Instead, the development team can collaborate with electronic engineering specialists like DE Design Works to ensure you utilize it to its full potential.  
  • Prototype and test the product extensively. Teams should know everything they can about the new product when going into the final manufacturing phase. At least two rounds of prototypes are common, but many times it will take more than that when working with unfamiliar technology.  
  • Don’t rush to set a deadline. It’s become harder than ever to set deadlines because of inflation and supply chain issues. Work closely with the design team and engineering specialists to create a roadmap of the materials, technology, scope, and risks. Only set deadlines once the team has figured out how to incorporate unfamiliar technologies and adjusted accordingly.  

Preparation and Planning for Uncertainties Are Key to Outstanding Product Development 

New product development is equally exciting and taxing, especially when working with technology isn’t familiar to your team. Development risks can appear at any stage, so it’s important to always look out for them. The design phase ultimately lays the roadmap for the success of new product, so teams shouldn’t rush the design.  

Extensive prototyping and risk analysis helps the team stay on track and allows for easier adjustments to design parameters as needed. This is a great opportunity to figure out how to effectively integrate technology in a way that won’t interfere with budgets. That said, it’s always a great idea to pad the schedule with extra time when incorporating technology not used before.  

Luckily, using technology for which you own the design files makes this task much easier. At DE Design Works, our team of engineering specialists creates custom technologies for product developers. This lets you own and easily integrate technology that will let you meet your development and production goals.