Chapter 1: New-Product Development 


"New products are engines to growth and profitability. Exceptional performance in Product Development is the result of a disciplined, systematic approach based on best practices. —Robert G. Cooper 


New products are often a critical part of a company’s success. For Dormont, it was the invention of the stainless steel gas-appliance connector that fundamentally changed the future direction of our business. This innovation dramatically changed how gas appliances are installed in two industries—residential plumbing and commercial food service. In many ways, these inventions impact all of us—whether it is through the use of gas appliances in our homes or whenever we eat in a restaurant. As I embarked on my leadership role at Dormont, my challenge was twofold. First, we needed to capitalize on our potential for significant growth in the gas-connector market. Second, we needed to build a new-product-development team that could create innovative new products that would help support the future growth of the company. 


I began by studying new-product-development processes that were being successfully used by industry leaders. After a thorough review, we decided to focus on a concept called a stage-gate process. In its basic form, a stage-gate system is a conceptual and operational plan for moving a new-product project from idea to launch. Stage-gate divides the process into distinct stages separated by management-decision gates. The company sets up cross-functional teams that need to successfully complete a set of related activities in each stage prior to receiving management approval to proceed to the next stage of product development.

Lessons Learned—New-Product Development


1.A structured process in a critical part of successful new product development.

We utilized the concepts of the stage-gate process to guide our NPD team in the development of innovative new products. This creative an effective process to evaluate, prioritize, and fund NPD projects.


3.Evaluating problems may lead you to better product solutions.

Customers’ problems may be opportunities disguised as problems. The invention of the two crown jewels of our business, the stainless steel gas-appliance connector and the quick-disconnect gas connector, came from our commitment to solve customer problems and find superior solutions.


I hope that you will purchase From Local To Global: Smart Management Lessons to Grow Your Business to see more Lessons Learned.

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