Is it always necessary to have rapid product development time?
The short answer: no. The long answer: for some products that require long-term investments, a longer production rate is essential to carrying out a vision. However, reducing product development time for the majority of sold goods is more efficient. It minimizes costs of creating a product as longer development times cost more resources. It is also useful for start-up companies wanting to get their idea on the market quickly. It also helps with product trends on the market. Launching an on-trend product will amass consumers’ attention and get them to buy from your brand. Since trends can be fleeting, quickly putting a competitive product on the market before other competitors do is critical. For example, the skincare-foundation hybrid trend. Natural makeup and skincare-infused makeup has become increasingly popular. Almost every makeup brand with face makeup products has some version in their line now. Think of the recently released Nars Light Reflecting Foundation or Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. Both have come out in the midst of this trend and garnered a significant amount of attention, especially on social media. In this way, you can see how reducing product development time can increase sales, customer loyalty, and satisfaction.
How cosmetic companies are reducing their product development time
For many cosmetic companies, product development time generally lasts a few years. This is usually due to research, perfecting formulations, quality testing, approval from the FDA, and much more. However, this also depends on the brand. Some brands choose to launch new collections frequently with little time in between each. How do these brands do it? One way that is extremely effective is by reusing formulations. For example, if your brand already has a trusted formulation for eyeshadows, lipsticks, and blushes, these items can easily be tweaked in a few ways (think colour or finish) to give the impression of novelty. Then, every so often, a singular new product/formulation can be added in to amplify consumers’ interest. This tactic works well as it can be easily suited to current trends and does not cost much time to put together. Instead, it buys time for the creation of new formulations. Another way brands put out products on the market quickly is by using turnkey manufacturing. Turnkey manufacturing involves putting your trust into one manufacturer to develop the entirety of a product line. They help guide through the entire process from start to finish, whilst in the end, your brand name appears on the products. A third way of getting a product on the market faster is to use small batch developments. A smaller batch made means less time producing every carton, less resources needed to secure, and less time needed for quality testing. However, this also means that higher costs for production might be necessary. In general, smaller batched products need to be priced higher on the market for this reason, which is something to be aware of.
Read more about small batch and turnkey manufacturing here: https://www.beautypackaging.com/issues/2019-12-02/view_features/the-turnkey-path-to-market/
General Tips to reduce product development time
Start with the specifics right away. This is important especially if they are potential issues down the line. This way, they can be addressed and remedied as fast as possible. Identify the target market as soon as possible to start the marketing process and delivery quickly. Simplify the product so that it still aligns with your goal and original idea, but only includes what is essential. For this to work, be open to making compromises. Schedule the timeline realistically. Moreover, ensure the checkpoints are being met. Prioritize your idea and allocate your resources accordingly, if you have many projects going on. Create an aggregate production plan as it focuses on the development of pressing strategic concerns as opposed to affairs of lesser importance. Or, use a Processing Network Model which displays the project and project structure for help staying organized. Teamwork is crucial in reducing product development time. A clear team with delegated tasks to each person needs to be set up to work on this idea. As well, foster a good relationship with the development team. It is useful to listen to any recommendations they have in cutting down production time. You can also provide a questionnaire to the product development workers to aid in discovering any constraints and issues early on. Lastly, be picky with quality assurance. Good QA will guarantee that there aren’t any mishaps when consumers receive the product.
Limitations to keep in mind with reduced product development time
Firstly, ensure that this project is something you want to commit to reducing development time. Can you meet the requirements needed for creating this product from start to finish? Will it be reasonable for your brand to acquire all the necessary resources for this product? Acknowledge that there are always some risks when development time is cut. A rapid development time will require extensive planning and more short-term work in order for it to be executed smoothly. If not thoroughly prepared, issues down the road could lengthen production time or produce an unsatisfactory commodity. Finished products with flaws could lead to unsatisfied or doubtful customers, diminishing progress by a substantial amount. If this product was made to be on-trend, be mindful that this could be risky. Trends go as quickly as they come, so it could be a waste of resources if not thought out fully. One thing to remember is that reducing product development time should not reduce quality. Don’t oversimplify the product too much to get it out faster if it sacrifices quality and expectations from customers. At the end of the day, what matters is having happy customers who value your creations and care for detail.
Scaling down product development time can minimize costs, get your ideas out before competitors, and add an on-trend product to your line quickly. Regardless of the reasoning for reducing product development time, it’s easy to name the many other benefits that come with it. The most important idea is setting up a solid plan. Good process management and planning construct the foundation for the rest of product development. Spending time to curate a shorter development time will make things run smoother in the future.
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