Operations Essay

1579 words - 7 pages



The development of new and innovative products and services is clearly of tremendous importance to most organizations. Without a stream of appropriate innovation a company leaves itself vulnerable to having to react to however its competitors decide to innovate. In fact many authorities would disagree with our decision to cover the topic in just one chapter and as part of operations strategy at all. They would say that new product and service development is one of the three major processes that any organization must master in order to succeed (the other two of course being operations and marketing). We would agree with ...view middle of the document...

In other words, because product and service development is itself a process, it can be analyzed using operations strategy models.

• Following on from the point above, the chapter uses a similar calibration of the degree of product or service change to that which was used when describing process change. Although this calibrated scale, which again moves from “modification, through extension and development to pioneer” is described as a four-stage process; it is, of course, a continuum.

• Product and service development and process development should be considered together. The box that describes the development of the ballpoint pen illustrates the obvious but important point that attempting extensive product or service change at the same time as extensive process change increases the degree of difficulty.

• Don’t ignore the theory box on modular design and mass customization. Both are significant developments, both are interrelated, and both have done much to overcome the trade-off between cost and variety in new product and service design. For example, think of the way ordinary domestic paint is now sold. Whereas some years ago a paint company would develop a range of colors, manufacture those in its factory and distribute them as separate products to the retail stores, much paint is now sold “made to order” in the store itself. The customer simply chooses a color from an incredibly wide range of alternatives and the paint is mixed there and then. This is only possible because each color is comprised of a defined set of “modules” of component colors. This “recipe-based” approach allows a degree of mass customization because a relatively small number of “modules” or colors can be mixed together in a far wider variety of ways.

• The chapter devotes some space to explaining the various stages of new product and service development. Here it is important to remember the warning given in the text that, although many organizations have a model that looks like the stages described in the chapter, it is really a huge simplification of reality. Stages will merge with each other and the process will often cycle backwards and forwards. So, don’t think of this as a prescriptive set of steps but rather a description of the activities that, in some order, generally take place during the new product and service development process.

• Think about the overall design process as progressively filtering out potential designs and thus reducing uncertainty, until the final design is reached.

A market perspective

• The design activity is itself a process that can be judged in the same way as any other operations process, that is in terms of quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost of the designs or development ideas that are produced.

• All the five generic performance objectives are important, but in recent years there has been an increased emphasis on the speed of new product and service development.

• This speed issue is...

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