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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The establishment of a new product planning department Mathison, William Arthur

Abstract

The major objective of this study was to establish a department in an organization, which would co-ordinate all new product planning activities. To attain this objective it was necessary to study the characteristics of a firm and then using these, develop a department which would utilize the firm's strengths and avoid its weaknesses. Initially the components required in a product policy were presented to act as a guide for management in establishing its new product planning department. The first step of the organizing process was the complete analysis of the basic stages that new product ideas pass through. This analysis included collection and screening of product ideas, the development of specifications for the product, and the testing of the product prior to commercialization. The decisions required, and the personnel involved at each stage were clearly indicated as the product idea evolved. Throughout the thesis, the need for an organized marketing research operation is emphasized. It is claimed that to have effective new product development there must be thorough and complete market knowledge available. Marketing research is an integral part of the activities proposed in this thesis. The department that is proposed consists of a committee with representatives from each of the major line functions in the firm. It is a staff department with functional authority. The new product development activities in the firm are guided and controlled by this coordinating body. The members of the new product planning department work in close co-operation with the line department managers and the executive committee. Management of a firm adopting the proposed system must be devoted to progress through new product development. For the new product planning department to be successful more than an organizational structure is required. The company as a whole must accept the premise that an organized approach to innovation is essential. This frame of mind must be prevalent before the proposed department will be able to work co-operatively with the various line functions in the firm. An integrated approach to new product development is therefore being proposed. To test the validity of the suggested system it was compared to the new product development operations in a leading Canadian chemical company. The operations of the firm are discussed in detail prior to analyzing them relative to the proposed system. Successful new product development is the key to the future for most industrial companies. Careful planning based on thorough and methodical analysis will result in new products being introduced with consistent success. To enable the planning process to take place a department must be established which will co-ordinate all new product activities and produce optimum results. The system proposed in this thesis, if properly implemented, will meet these requirements.

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