Proper resource and capacity management can go a long way toward accelerating new product development (NPD). In today’s fast-paced environment, businesses need to consistently deliver the right products to meet the expectations of their customers. They must innovate constantly based on the understanding that yesterday’s innovations might already have become obsolete. They need to do it quickly, and profitably. Getting there requires implementing the right resource management and capacity planning model.
Understanding the Specificities of NPD
New Product Development (NPD) is a systematic approach to product planning that encompasses product ideation, commercialization, and lifecycle management. Unsurprisingly, a wide range of industries — including manufacturing, consumer goods, and biopharma — are increasingly using NPD methods and processes.
NPD helps decision-makers ensure that the right products are consistently provided to the right cohorts using the right channel. The objectives? To maximize value creation for both customers and the organization, to boost revenue, and to accelerate organizations’ ability to bring top-notch innovative solutions to market.
The speed of time-to-market holds paramount importance for product-oriented companies. Not only does being a frontrunner confer a competitive edge, but it also allows for higher initial pricing, an extended market presence, and quicker Return on Investment (ROI). Hence the importance of resource and capacity management for NPD.
Resource and Capacity Management for NPD: The Importance of Planning
The timely development and go-to-market of new solutions hinges on having skilled individuals assigned to the right tasks at the right time. This is where resource management and capacity planning come into play.
The best way to ensure that all required resources are available when needed is to list all the resource requirements (by role, skills, seniority) for a project and map them along a time-phased schedule.
Developing a realistic resource plan is a prerequisite to securing the personnel needed for the product development effort. This is especially true since new product development draws on resources from various departments and therefore requires cross-functional collaboration. This collaboration imperative increases the probability of facing resource constraints in one or several of the departments involved and heightens the importance of implementing a sound resource management strategy.
The earlier you can build a solid resource plan for your new product development project, the better you’ll be able to respond to such constraints effectively — either by adjusting the project’s scope and timeline or by finding ways to secure new resources.
Resource and Capacity Management for NPD: Responding to the Unanticipated
While a well-thought-out resource plan usually mitigates significant resource bottlenecks, unanticipated issues (technical problems, last-minute resource unavailability, tasks that take longer than expected, etc.) may impact development projects. As a result, this may warrant revisiting capacity planning.
Therefore, maintaining the resource plan regularly to incorporate any relevant change in the organizational or market environment is recommended. Regular updates to your resource management plans will help your organization to anticipate any shifts in resource supply or demand, bottlenecks stemming from resource overallocation, or inefficiencies from under allocation.
Looking to the Future
While it is always possible to manage a new product development resource plan manually, working based on disconnected systems or spreadsheets can be frustrating, time-consuming, and prone to error.
Instead, successful organizations tend to rely on professional resource management and capacity planning software solutions to consolidate the planning and dynamic management of NPD resources.