19 January, 2007
Page 9 
supply chain, I am often in contact with companies that have an interest in new product development and innovation. Or so they say!
Yet there is not enough fresh thinking. While it's true that there is lots of NPD activity and many new product launches, this is mostly in a straight line - ie, extensions based on current products.So where's the innovation? There is some - for example, Hovis invisible crust bread. We also have companies "crossing over" into other areas - biscuit makers are adding chocolate and the chocolate people are adding biscuits, for example.But three issues are holding up progress. Firstly, there is a lack of knowledge as to how ingredients and processes can be combined to produce genuinely new concepts. The only way this can be addressed is by greater knowledge through applied training.Also important is the lack of willingness to accept failure. Most new products do not succeed. The more novel the idea, the greater the risk and the lower the chance of such a project happening. Third is the lack of time and resources. Everyone is so busy with current projects, they cannot possibly take on more.So how do we move forward? Companies are increasingly outsourcing non-routine NPD projects and training. This buys time and fresh thinking. Although extra cost is inevitable, the pay-off can be substantial, and quicker too.

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