Launching a new product is a decisive time for any business, especially SMEs, hardware startups, and entrepreneurs who are new to the process in China. We’ve been helping importers bring their products to market quickly and successfully for years. Read on to learn more about the new product launch plan we use that you can implement for your own launch…
At Sofeast, when we help our clients launch new products, this is the process we tend to follow (with variations due to each project’s specific need):
You, however, may be anywhere from still looking for suitable suppliers, through to almost ready for production or beyond, when you start cooperating with us. Worries or problems can come along at any time, therefore we need to get started by understanding your product and process…
Initial meeting to familiarize ourselves with your product and what you intend to achieve
The initial goal is for us to get familiar with your product concept and to find where the major gaps lie so we can suggest the logical next steps.
A member of our management team would discuss with you and your team. The initial conversation is usually on a teleconference tool such as Zoom or Skype.
Ideally, you can come and meet with us in our China offices (in Shenzhen or Dongguan). We’d sit down and discuss the project. Face to face meetings are a great way of getting us familiar with your product and requirements.
Desk review of drawings & specifications
In addition, depending on the status of your product design, we often suggest an initial desk review of your drawings and specifications by one of our engineers. We described this in industrial design support.
Once we have an idea of your situation, your needs and requirements, and the logical next steps in your new product launch process, an action plan can be laid out and we can work together to refine it.
Creating the action plan
This is the kind of action plan we’d usually follow to improve your new product launch. It consists of a combination of steps such as:
- Refining the specifications from your side, ideally with a clear link to what you identified as the typical needs of targeted users.
- Feasibility study and/or proof of concept, to start addressing assumptions and reducing risks in your project. This often involves identifying and exchanging with component suppliers, doing some mechanical and electronic engineering work, putting together a first crude prototype, and so on.
- Working on work-alike and look-alike prototypes, for approval and freezing of the product design.
- Tooling design, fabrication, and sign-off; functional & compliance testing of final prototypes.
- Pre-production work on manufacturing and testing processes, both for components (with a focus on custom parts) and final assembly: preparing the work instructions and the fixtures, QC plan and checklists, pilot run(s)…
- Management of production and shipment.
If volumes are sufficient to justify it, it is important to spend time at the manufacturing facilities and work on identifying & reducing risks. This might include, for example:
- A process FMEA, and development of a process control plan (this might be time-intensive if factory engineering capabilities are weak).
- Supervising and assisting in the preparation of the work instructions.
- Posting quality engineers on the line during the pilot run and the start of mass production, to keep track of the main issues and act on fixing them at the root.
If you’re conducting a new product lau8nch soon, perhaps these steps can help you formulate your action plan, too.
Solutions we provide that can enhance your New Product Launch
If we’ve got as far as creating the action plan, how do we carry out the improvements and manage the project, and what does it cost?
Our NPI solution spans the whole new product launch process and we can start supporting your project from just US$1,000, but we also provide solutions which apply to specific areas of the launch, too:
- Partner selection & verification.
We assist with finding the right suppliers and also verifying them by conducting due diligence or factory audits.
- Prototyping & pre-production.
You’ll be given expert help to review and improve your industrial design and we’ll also rapidly create the prototype, too.
- Supplier development.
Where quality is concerned we provide on-the-spot QA consulting, but can also work on your behalf to push suppliers to improve organisationally, too.
The costs for most of these solutions appear on-page, and with Sofeast you only pay for the work we do, there’s no ‘lock-in.’
Sofeast’s new product launch planning is focused on getting our clients the following improvements:
- Lower overall risk of a failed project
- Less frustration and “going round in circles”, thanks to our guidance and planning
- More reliable time to market
By using our engineers and specialists to fill in common gaps that catch out companies working with Chinese and Asian suppliers, you can expect to get your product to market faster and at a lower cost and higher quality than you otherwise would.
Are YOU starting a new product launch or within the process now? How are you getting along? Let us know if you have any questions or issues that are holding us back by leaving a comment. Alternatively, you might prefer to contact us directly.
If you’re launching a new product soon, you’ll also find these resources helpful:
- The New Product Launch Roadmap you should use to develop & make a product in China
- Don’t Send Immature Product Designs To A Chinese Manufacturer!
- The New Product Introduction Process Guide for Hardware Startups [Free Guide – no download required]