30 Mar More Ways to Conserve Capital in NPD
The economy has many businesses against the ropes, and the rest are tightening their belts in the face of uncertainty. However, you don’t need to completely halt your new product development (NPD) efforts. Here are five ways to spend less while keeping your pipeline moving.
- Use Resources Efficiently
Getting a full time, highly trained engineer to do everything in the product development process may move the project along faster, but it can be more expensive. Instead of paying an engineer to perform every task, such as testing a prototype or drafting a report, maybe a lab technician or college intern can run specific parts of the test and write up the final report under the engineer’s supervision. What they cost in inefficiency they often make up for in reduced overhead.
- Plan Ahead
Nothing wastes time and money more than having to do things over. There’s certainly plenty of iteration required in product development, but making mistakes by rushing or failing to prepare for likely problems should be avoided by taking the time to plan ahead.
- Mind Your Perspective
While working on a project, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. At least once a week, step back to look at the big picture. Consider what you (and others) are working on and where it lays on the path between the design specification and the finished product. Is your team working efficiently? Are you spending time on minutia too early in the project? Adding (and rebuilding) the draft angles and fillets required for injection-molding are often unnecessary when using most rapid prototyping techniques.
- Look Off-The-Shelf
Using commercial off-the-shelf parts (COTS) is a great way to reduce the schedule and cut development costs. Designing products takes time, so if someone has already spent the time and money to build a sub-system, try to take advantage. Look for at least one more supplier so you have options if they raise the price, discontinue the product, or don’t meet expectations as a vendor. Sole-source products should be avoided as much as possible, but you can spare yourself some pain by purchasing stock well ahead of time or negotiating a contract with the supplier. Of course, don’t squeeze a square peg in a round hole just to save a buck, either. If you can’t find anything to meet the requirements, and changing the requirements is out of the question, it’s time to design it yourself.
- Conserve Energy
We have a responsibility to be environmentally conscious, but efforts to that effect can also make financial sense. Reducing the power requirements for your product can decrease the size, weight, and cost of your power supply. It can also increase the battery life for a product used in the field. Choosing the same materials or components within a product or across product lines makes recycling easier, but it also means you can save money by purchasing raw materials in higher quantities.