Two Biggest Misconceptions About the New Product Introduction (NPI) Process

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New Product Introduction (NPI) is a key validation process essential for the success of your product launch. The three stages involved in this process are Engineering Validation Testing (EVT), Design Validation Testing (DVT) and Production Validation Testing (PVT).

EVT is the first validation phase. The main purpose of this phase is to ensure that the product’s functionality meets the requirements on the product requirement document (PRD).

Next step of the NPI phase is DVT. The main goal in DVT is to ensure that cosmetic and environmental requirements are met.

Finally, the third and last phase is PVT, where the production line is assessed in terms of quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC). 

The NPI phase is a robust way of bringing new products into the market, yet it is often underestimated and misunderstood. This blog will cover two of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the NPI process.



Two of the biggest misconceptions about EVT, DVT & PVT:


1. The NPI process is not as important and can be skipped altogether

 The biggest mistake by product developers is underestimating the importance of the NPI stages. Everybody wants to go straight to mass production once they see the prototype is working well and think that the minor changes that would have been detected in NPI can be adjusted in real-time. In our experience, we strongly believe that EVT, DVT & PVT should be a top priority for the following reasons: 


A diligent NPI process can ensure optimal and consistent production quality, speed and costs. 

At the end of a successful and thorough NPI process, your production line has been optimized to meet quality standards within the cost and time constraints. During PVT, numerous production line efficiencies may be identified to produce higher quality products in less time. 

For example, structuring workflows to optimize the efficiency of workers, processes and equipment in a systematic manner. Spending the time and resources to do this will result in more efficient and cost-effective mass production. The NPI process ensures a smooth production process that has been tried and tested which can vastly increase efficiency and decrease the risk of hiccups and errors.


The NPI process can ensure the personal safety of your production operators & a good brand image

The NPI process ensures that you remain compliant to the relevant safety standards. Non-compliance to safety standards can lead to heavy fines that can hinder the success of your new product launch. Furthermore, consumers all over the globe are becoming more and more concerned over workplace ethics and how companies treat their employees. Failure to meet basic compliance to safety standards or even mistreatment of employees can easily tarnish your brand image overnight. For example, a total of four engineering and construction companies in Hong Kong were fined $53,000, $53,000, $33,000 and $18,000 at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on June 24th 2020. The companies were found guilty of multiple health and safety violations that included workplace accidents involving fatalities and severe injuries. The NPI process therefore eliminates this risk by ensuring you are compliant in all areas of health and safety.


A thorough NPI process can help mitigate the risk of unexpected failure

Throughout the NPI process, specifically in DVT, your prototype goes through vigorous testing in various different situations and environments. At the end of this stage, you should be confident that your product design will meet the customers’ expectations. Skipping this stage of validation testing increases the risk of a product design being unsuccessful when used in certain situations or surroundings. EVT is also important to mitigate future risks of failure as it ensures optimal functionality of the product. We have even seen this from our experience. For example, Company X is almost ready to launch their product just before Christmas. However, just before launch, the key component of the product starts to fail due to the fact that the company skipped EVT and they hadn’t done their material selection properly.



2. Nothing can go wrong when carrying out EVT, DVT & PVT 

 The NPI process can be of great value and ensure a successful transition into mass production, but only if it is done right. Here are some common mistakes made during EVT, DVT & PVT that can affect its success:


An overdependence on a strict NPI schedule

An over reliance on a production schedule means that companies will carry on with the next phase of validation testing while an issue is still being fixed in the previous phase. As a result, this can quickly escalate from one small issue to widespread issues throughout the NPI process. To avoid this from happening, it is important to pause and fix an issue before moving forward with validation testing. It can also be helpful to allow room for errors when creating a time schedule for the NPI process.


Underestimating the time it takes to be ready for mass production

Another common mistake made is thinking that it will take a very short period of time to go from an idea to full-blown mass production. In reality, there are a number of essential steps and processes that must be followed, including validation testing.. Underestimating how long it will take can lead to a rushed NPI process which can end up being unsuccessful. Read more on the consequences of a rushed NPI process in our blog here. (will insert link)


An absence of a project manager to run the NPI Process

Having a project manager can have a massive impact on ensuring that the process is completed on time and within budget. Project managers can instill a sense of urgency and motivation and at the same time improve cross-functional collaboration. From our experience, one of the leading causes of a prolonged project that goes over budget is a lack of proper communication and the absence of a project manager.



Final Words

EVT, DVT & PVT may seem like a very time-consuming and costly process. However, conducting proper validation testing can go a long way in avoiding future complications that cost you a lot of money. To learn more about the common mistakes product developers make when manufacturing, Darragh Hudson (Founder, Kaizen Dynamic) and Renaud Anjoran (Founding Partner, CMC) discuss this in detail here



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