Product Development and Manufacturing
Aleksandra is a Product and Operations Executive who specializes in product creation, sourcing, and manufacturing and leverages her purpose-driven and opportunity-oriented strategic leadership style to drive productivity, quality results, and professional advancement of individuals. She believes in excellent brand experiences for customers, cares for our planet, and contributing to strong pipeline talent for the Industry.
Aleksandra was born in Vladivostok, Russia, but her upbringing has been global. Traveling from a young age and living in China and the USA helped her to develop a global limitless vision for ideas and the understanding of oneness between all living parts.
Fashion, sports, travel, languages, and psychology were always the things Aleksandra loved the most and that formed her as a person and as a professional. Graduating from Russian Far Eastern Federal University with a Master's degree in Asian Studies and getting additional education at UCSD in Global Commerce she has chosen China and deepening her understanding of how to work with this country as her career.
For the last 8 years, Aleksandra lived and worked in China and USA, close to manufacturing, established running and evolving operations and teams in China and USA offices, built and improved supply chains for a number of American brands and suppliers, managed development and supply chain for 100+ product SKU’s, supported the development and emerging of 3 start-up brands.
Aleksandra believes in sharing and continuous learning and will be happy if her experience or world view can benefit others or inspire something new. She also believes that the world is ours to protect and it is our responsibility to make it a better, healthier and happier place by staring with our internal worlds.
Conceptualizing, designing, creating, and developing, manufacturing and growing products from start to finish is a time-consuming, arduous endeavor. To increase your chance of success, we will review in depth the following nine steps to take your idea from conception to launch.
1. Discover/ Validate an Innovative Product (with a Purpose)
New product innovation begins with a problem or inspiration. What needs are currently unmet in the industry?
To determine your industry’s greatest needs, consider market research. First examine the most common complaints, questions, and shortcomings of existing products. After aggregating this information and having internal conversations, interview target clients for a new, personalized perspective on their pain points and what existing solutions they’re already using.
From idea inception, you need to answers to the following questions like: Does it solve a need that is important to customers? Does it inspire something new? How much are customers willing to pay for a solution?
2. Brainstorm What’s Possible, Then Refine
With the problem clearly defined, what does a unique solution look like? Conduct extensive competitive analysis and intensely assess how a new product or product innovation tops those currently available to the market.
Consider the following, which are fundamental to any product innovation: Performance & engineering characteristics, Industry or government regulations, User safety, Sustainability, Cost targets and price points, Manufacturability, Differentiation.
3. Qualify the Refined Idea with Others
Introduce the product innovation to others to test its potential viability and impact. The best way to accomplish this is to produce your minimum viable product. Engage engineers, department heads, and technical or field experts. Eventually, you must involve the target customers you already have a relationship with. Throughout the process, polish both the idea and the pitch. Document the anecdotes from your refining process.
4. Design and Engineer a Product Prototype
Prototyping is an essential part and most difficult part of the whole process. While it reduces uncertainty and decreases risk at launch, there is a lot of components that need to be aligned to get started. By first discovering customer needs, developing solutions individually, brainstorming with a group, and even bouncing ideas off of others, your concept should be ready for prototyping. Consider items such as material for the final product, critical elements for the final product, and peripheral characteristics., etc.
5. Build and Refine a Prototype for Internal Testing
This is where hands-on work happens. For demonstration purposes, a handmade or 3D-printed physical model may suffice. Other products may require a CAD design or even a working prototype that will require you to open mold. Apparel and textile projects can use In stock materials or 3D modeling. Refine the prototype to the point where it is functional and can be tested in-house. Imitate the projected production process as much as possible to catch design flaws or areas to improve the end user's experience.
6. External Testing and Refinement (Beta Test)
As you enter into the launch phase, issue the new product to trusted customers and partners for beta testing. Ask beta testers to submit feedback to ensure the team is including any needed upgrades to the design during the final manufacturing process. There is much software now that allows you to do use their network for a fee. While it may seem overly costly to create workable prototypes, beta testing significantly decreases costs.
7. Perfect the Design, Then Prepare for Production
Beta testing results should help you refine a product and determine how to efficiently produce it. Once ready, prepare for production. Though the potential buyer and end-user should be kept in mind throughout the entire innovation process, marketing must become involved and work conjointly with manufacturing to perfect working models that will resonate with the target buyer. During this manufacturing planning phase, all aspects of production must be finalized, including manufacturing suppliers and partners, supply chain, distribution methods, packaging, and staffing.
8. Prep for Production, Anticipate Problems and Related Solutions
Before launching the product to market, consider it from all angles. Tighten up the details, anticipate problems, formulate solutions, and make adjustments beforehand where possible. Give ample attention to the following areas: set-up and managing all aspects of production, manufacturing partners (if any), supply chain after launch, packaging of the product, distribution and defects management. Make sure to project inventory of all sizes and configurations properly.
9. Keep Post-Launch Activities In Mind
Marketing, selling, and customer service is not only the job of customer-facing jobs. When product questions come from the client, all teams (e.g. marketing, sales, customer service, engineering) must unite to provide answers and increase customer satisfaction.
Depending on your business, the development and launch of a new product may take years. Collect feedback and admit areas for improvement. Is there a consistent question or complaint coming from buyers? How will you improve or evolve the current product to brainstorm next-generation development? Consider how these questions can be addressed in the next iteration of the product.
10. Improve Supply Chain
Continually work with your vendors to improve the supply chain activities, cut costs and become more lean and sustainable. The more time, energy and care you show to your manufacturing partners, the more improved the product you will get and the better the supply chain you will have. Building and improving relationships with your suppliers is as important as caring for your customers.
- Product Ideation
- Business Planning
- Product Development Process
- Building Supply Chain
Course Level - Basic/Fundamental
Who Should Attend
Product Entrepreneurs, Entry Level Positions Into Supply Chain, Project Managers, Designers, Product Engineers, Merchandisers
Why Should You Attend
Did you have a great product idea and a customer for it, but didn’t know how or where to start your journey? At the risk of sounding unencouraging, bringing a product to market from concept to reality is a distinctly challenging venture in many cases. One of the biggest reasons for this is that there are so many opportunities for failure. For instance, perhaps the concept is wrong, to begin with, or the design is inefficient, or the wrong materials are selected, or perhaps the manufacturing process was not optimized. Once the product is manufactured, then it must be accurately priced, marketed well, and sent to the right distributors. Anyone of these steps presents an opportunity for inefficiency or even failure. There are, however, many ways to mitigate mistakes in the consumer product development and manufacturing process.
Building ad growing a supply chain is another area on its own and needs to be assessed and planned for at the time of product development. Questions, like staying local or going overseas, need to be addressed and all risks, expenses, and support need to be taken into account. In some cases with proper preparation and educational background, self-starting can be enough, in some cases, external help or consulting is needed. To enter the market with a great product and solid supply chain to support it is a key to success and we will explore it to prepare you for a kick-off success.