Each year, companies beef up their product lines with new innovations. What drives ingenuity? How do businesses engineer the next big hit, time and again? Is it simply the passionate pursuit of one creative pioneer or do several experts brainstorm the next wave of technological wonder? Does the company pour through mountains of research to determine what products will invigorate, revive, or launch the next new brand? Or do they just use their core competencies to reengineer a prior product line into a sleek, updated version? The next product launch could be the brainchild of a singular individual or many think tank professionals.
Oftentimes, the most successful companies evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, current product line, and wants and needs of their customers to provide the greatest genesis for new product inventions. Feedback from jobsite professionals, distributors, the retail network, and experts in the field provide vital insight. Each online end user visit, email, phone call, social media interaction or click through the company’s website provide even more key data of how customers relate to the products. Each real-life application gives a company, such as Zircon, new information of how the products are applied in the construction or home environment, the problems still to be solved, and the new products that would be the most helpful for everyday work or personal use.
With idea generation, creativity is key. What hasn’t already been tried? What has been tried, but may not have worked? Some product ideas do not reach fruition; however, even these ideas can lay the groundwork for a new product that actually will materialize and prove to be successful. Zircon uses customer preferences, analytics, and design and process evaluations to determine which new tools will solve DIY and professional sensing and scanning problems.
To meet the company’s mission of delivering innovative, easy-to-use technology to the world’s toolboxes, a new product goes through a rigorous evaluation process. How does the product fit within the current product line and how does it expand upon the existing key benefits and features already promoted by Zircon? Of course, the product must be cost effective and provide real value to the end user as well. To progress from concept to manufacturing, the potential customers must rate the product with high marks. How will it help the end user? Will it make his job quicker and simple to perform? Will the product be more accurate than comparable products in the marketplace? Is it intuitive and easy to understand?
The company reviews the product to assess its viability in terms of engineering, manufacturing, and budgeting. At the jobsite, environmental testing is performed to ensure that the product meets stringent everyday use. Product science and art converge to produce the next big innovation. The crossroads from idea to manufacturing to marketing is not always a clear cut path. What is clear, however, is that the customer is the leader in this product innovation process.