New Product Introduction: a game changing process
25 October 2021
25 October 2021
by Paul Lewis, Operations Director at Universal Wolf – leaders in complex metal fabrication.
The manufacturing industry is always evolving. To stay competitive, companies need to constantly innovate, review lessons learned and improve the way they develop their products. But there are constant challenges to overcome. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, 95 percent of new products introduced each year fail. To make sure our customers’ products succeed, we developed our New Product Introduction (NPI) process. New Product Introduction is the process of taking a product from concept, design or prototype, through to full scale manufacturing. Bringing our customers’ products to market using NPI enables Universal Wolf to go beyond metalwork to develop products that are designed to scale.
What this means in practice is that when a customer wants a product, we can put it through a series of controlled tests in a structured environment that will not only tell us whether it will be feasible, but also work out the details so the product is ready for full-scale manufacture. In this way, the NPI process enables us to ensure that our customers will be less likely to run into problems further down the line. For example, the inability to bend a product because serial production requires certain tooling.
The process is outlined in more detail in our New Product Introduction Whitepaper. However, the advantages are clear. They include reduced development cost, faster time to market, improved product quality, and more efficient manufacturing. Our NPI department has been recognised as a game changer in the sheet metal fabrication industry with one customer telling us they’re “not aware of any other manufacturers investing in NPI on this scale outside the automotive industry.”
By collaborating with our customers throughout the NPI process, our team can avoid late design changes, revisions, and costly mistakes. NPI also allows us to make products more commercially successful. In our partnership with engineering technology disrupter, Lontra, we used the NPI process to develop their core compressor technology which ensured the design was suitable for manufacture at scale. By using the power of NPI, we were able to take Lontra’s Blade Compressor from prototype to full-scale manufacture, maintaining the design integrity of the enclosure and controlling costs at the same time. Our support meant Lontra’s product was up to a third more efficient than its competitors and delivered significant improvements in reliability. Learn more.
NPI also ensures we can make products that are more cost-effective when manufactured at scale. We saw that through our work with Midlands-based Dennis Eagle on the canopy of its refuse vehicles. By first taking the product through our NPI process, we ensured the canopies would be fully optimised for cost-effective production and assembly. We worked in an open and collaborative way to make sure that we were clear on the product build and requirements, and that the design was fully optimised for scalable manufacture. In this way, NPI is increasing the quality of our products and delivering greater value for the companies they’re created for. Learn more.
That’s why I am proud to lead a best-in-class operations team that goes beyond the day-to-day work of metal fabrication and provides an end-to-end commercialisation service that is transforming our customers’ businesses. The key to our success is that our team not only possess deep technical expertise, but also a true passion for better that is unrivalled. This passion means we are always looking for new and more effective ways to bring our customers’ products to market. As we look ahead, we are using NPI to not only solve our customers’ problems, but also reimagine the manufacturing process by helping companies to build products in a way that is smarter and more efficient.
Just like our partners, we at Universal Wolf are on our own journey. There’s always more to learn. And as the speed of technology development increases, there will be even more innovation to discover. At Universal Wolf, we believe in solving problems through partnerships. Collaborations that truly bring the best of Universal Wolf and our partners together to transform their company. Ultimately, new product introduction is about more than just designing new products. It’s about working as a team to deliver best-in-class products quickly, efficiently and to the highest quality. The future of manufacturing relies on collaboration – and our unique NPI process is proof that better collaboration results in a better product.