Innovation is part of human nature
The development of new technologies and new products is a natural process, which has always been present in human history.
From the discovery of fire, to the invention of the wheel, of electricity, of the telephone; the development of new technologies in every field of human’s society has resulted in an evolution in lifestyle habits, customs and traditions.
However, since the early 2000s up today, a technological evolution – which has never been seen before in human history – has occurred.
In a very short period of time, we witnessed a long series of innovations, some of which have had a significant impact on our lives. Some examples among the most renowned are: the Bluetooth (2000), YouTube (2005), Google Maps (2005), the smartphone (2007), reusable Space X rockets (2015), 3G, 4G, 5G network, online streaming (Netflix), artificial intelligence, virtual reality (Oculus), etc.
Advances in medical and pharmaceutical field, with new operating techniques, state-of-the-art medical equipment and new-generation meds, have allowed to increase life expectancy and quality.
Improved means of transport, faster and more efficient, have made it possible to reduce travel time for people and goods on our planet.
Every field of human activity has taken advantage of the development of new technologies and products related to them. However, to achieve these improvements so quickly, new methodologies for technological research and development had to be adopted. New professional figures, dedicated research structures, products and specific solutions have been created for R&D or lab processes.
Also the food and confectionery industry – particularly for large multinational companies and market top players – had to adapt and provide specialized structures for R&D. With the advance of new technologies, for instance, it has been possible to produce and market new ingredients and products, tastier and at the same time healthier and more useful in improving the quality of human life.
Risks linked to the failure of a new product
Those who are consistently projected towards product development and innovation, certainly benefit from a privileged vision and position in the future of the confectionery market. They will be able to seize in advance the opportunities created by new market trends, or even guide and influence them.
Moreover, another advantage of R&D based product development is the possibility to acquire patents for their products.
However, such innovation processes are not easy and immediately within the reach of all business realities.
The activity of development and launch of new products goes, indeed, through different steps, that can involve many resources, both financial and human.
📚 The most important thing for a businessman is to collect an idea about something he really loves, work on it, and then turn it into a business only when it is sure it works. (Mark Zuckerberg)
An analysis process is necessary, in order to predict the possible success of a new product and decide whether to go on with its development and launch or not.
In case of a new product’s failure, there can be direct costs and losses for the company, such as: packing materials, marketing investments, discounts made for promoting the product, costs for the personnel involved in the development.
But, the failure of a product can also generate other negative consequences, equally damaging for the company, but less visible in the short term.
Just to name a few:
- demotivation of the development team
- clients’ distrust towards the development of new products
- profit erosion
- waste of time and effort of corporate assets
- pressure on the sales team, to bring positive results to a product that does not work
- delay in the sale of unsuccessful products, blocked in storage for a long time
All these problems might discourage the management from engaging in further developments of new products in the future.
How many products marketed in the last year have really succeeded as companies expected them to?
As stated by Javier Ibarra – Innovación Esbelta’s innovation adviser:
Based on the statistics he elaborated, cooperating with different companies in the field, it works only for 10% to 15% of new products placed on the market.
How can we increase the success rate of a new product?
The product development phase
There are tried-and-tested models, with different development phases, to increase considerably the success rate of products placed on the market.
One of the key phases in the creation of a product is definitely the development phase: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT.
This step requires:
- definition of product specifications
- creation of product samples
- production tests
- product quality tests
- market tests with consumers
It is during this delicate step that all the previous reasoning and analyzing, mostly theoretical or made on paper, have to become the final product.
Limitations of product development methods
Until a few years ago, the solutions available for the product development phase were limited to very manual systems, such as the drop roller.
Photo: drop roller
They were, and for some confectionery realities still are, the main development method employed in some R&D labs (primarily for space issues and reduced spending budget).
However, the main drawback of these systems is the use of forming technologies different from those used in production departments.
The products they give back can be very different from the real ones, obtained from industrial forming lines and that end up in the hands of customers.
The quality and final shape, are not comparable to the more precise and clean ones of the production lines. Moreover, they do not allow the production of samples with a filling.
These problems often force companies to continue new products development in production departments, in order to have more realistic samples of the final product.
The resulting disadvantages mainly have an economic, organizational and time-related nature:
- normal production has to be disturbed and interrupted from R&D activities.
- the quantity of samples made on the production lines is high, more than what is actually needed.
- the costs of such tests, the waste and the production time can be very high.
In this context, how can we improve the success rate of new products? How can we efficiently face these difficulties in the most delicate phase of the final product development?
How to improve the development phase of a new confectionery product
To answer this question, and seeing our customers‘ always higher demand of more advanced lab systems, in the last 20 years, we focused on the development of laboratory lines.
Our lines have been developed with the following goals:
- Speed, agility and cost-effectiveness in the execution and creation of production samples, to facilitate and speed up the development of new products.
- Final quality of the product, same as that achievable with production lines, to allow to choose more confidently the best product to market.
- Space saving in the line dimensions, to more easily access the limited spaces of R&D labs.
- Production of small quantities of samples, both automatically and continuously from 50 to 200 Kg/h (to simulate the process of production lines); and manually with batch of 5 to 20 Kg.
- System modularity, to allow future implementation of necessary options for the development of new products.
- Universal candy forming system, with the possibility to use chain, rotary and even lollipop die sets on the same machine.
- Maximum product flexibility, allowing the production of hard candies, lollipops, chewy toffee, caramel and chewing-gum or bubble-gum on the same line.
- Hygienic design, suitable for pharmaceutical applications and for the development of OTC (Over the Counter) products or products with API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients).
Our laboratory line has received positive feedbacks, both from research and development labs of multinational manufacturers of the confectionery and pharmaceutical sector; and from commodities and flavorings suppliers, who use it for demonstrations to their customers.
If you want further information on our laboratory line and put its capabilities to the service of your imagination – for the development of your new products – please visit our website or fill in the form to be contacted.