NPD vs. NPI: What are the differences and similarities

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The initials ‘NPD’ (New Product Development) and ‘NPI’ (New Product Introduction) are often used interchangeably in the manufacturing industry. While both processes are focused on bringing a new product to market, they both focus on different stages of the entire NPDI process and it can be challenging to differentiate between the two. 

Our blog will help define and explain the differences between NPI and NPD.


What is New Product Development (NPD)?

New Product Development (NPD) is the process of developing and finalizing an actual product design. This is when you identify a market opportunity and the development team is tasked to address the market opportunity. Think of it as the execution of product development where the product comes to life. NPD is typically undertaken by the development team and is the tangible creation of the product to address a market need. 

For example, if a manufacturer decides that there is an excellent opportunity in the market by selling a router with smartphone capabilities whilst delivering up to 3600 Mbps in speed. The NPD process is where the manufacturer creates the design and thinks of ways to deliver the product’s specifications into reality and tangible product. 


What is New Product Introduction (NPI)?

New Product Introduction (NPI) has nothing to do with the actual creation of the product. Instead, NPI is a process of defining and developing an appropriate launch for a new product. This means creating and developing the rollout of the product in terms of marketing and branding. This process is integral for product development as it’s needed to bring the product into the market appropriately. 

Taking the router example above, the NPI process would involve thinking of ways to launch the router. NPI would need to leverage the main specifications of the router (smartphone capabilities and 3600 Mbps speeds). Still, the team must think of how to deliver this information to the customers and target audience. At the same time, it is essential to consider how the router specifications can be of benefit to the target market and its unique selling points to stand out from competitors. It does not have anything to do with making the actual product; instead, it’s to position the product in the market.


NPD and NPI serve different purposes in the product realization process. They are both involved in NPDI but happen in various stages. It’s best to look at it as execution and launching of a product from a concept to the market. 

To look at it contextually, NPD comes first, followed by NPI in the production pipeline. NPD is what comes first, as it’s the process of creating an actual product to sell. Once it’s close to being finished and the manufacturer has an idea of what is being produced, NPI can start with brainstorming the operations and logistics involved in launching the said product.

It’s essential to have both NPD and NPI work in unison with each other. A new product is created to solve an issue or fill in a gap in the market; this problem is typically acknowledged in the NPD process and should be iterated similarly in the NPI process. Although these two processes may overlap in the process, they serve two different purposes.


The Bottom Line

NPD and NPI sound similar and, at first glance, could be mistaken as similar stages in a product’s development. However, their similarity only lies in their names. It’s essential to use the terms correctly to avoid confusion, whether dealing with the clients, suppliers or simply writing about the topic online. 

At KD Product Development, we offer guidance and consultations on both NPD and NPI. If you are in any stage of the NPDI process and require help, contact us below.



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