Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

[email protected]

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New product development

There are some characteristics that should be embedded in any New Product Development (NPD) process. This includes customer input, the involvement of cross functional teams, strong project management, concurrent engineering and risk management tools.  For example marketing and design are not the only departments that need to be involved in NPD, production/construction also need to be included.

There are also some technical issues that should always be focused on such as ensuring the new product fits the existing infrastructure for example that it can be made using the existing tools and component parts, this will avoid significant capital cost or transition costs.

However, a generic process for NPD could include the following steps.

1.      Alignment with Business Strategy

2.      Ideal generation

3.      Concept development

4.      Requirement analysis

5.      Feasibility assessment

6.      Business analysis (ROI, capability, cross functional department evaluation)

7.      Design development

8.      Cross functional and customer focus group assessment of design

9.      Product development

10.  Prototype (pilot) with cross functional team and customer focus group assessment

11.  Test market

12.  Full scale production

13.  Ongoing customer feedback

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