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Best Practices for Creating Effective Product Specifications

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For many companies, the secret to growth is continually developing new products to present to consumers. Managing a large portfolio of products in different stages of development can be challenging, which is why many companies turn to product specification management solutions. Following a few best practices for product specifications can make managing projects in multiple stages efficient and can help you get your products to consumers more quickly.

Understanding Product Specification Management

Whether you are a manufacturer of consumer goods that manages multiple product lines or a small company that specializes in a few, bringing new ideas from the conceptual stage to a finished product ready to ship has many steps in between. Trends in consumer goods and what the public wants is a dynamic landscape, especially in fast-paced sectors such as clothing and fashion. To be successful, companies must be able to pivot and adapt to changing trends quickly. That one ready why having a good product specification management system in place is a necessity.

What is product specification management? Every product that you find on store shelves or online is a mix of raw materials, formulas, components, packaging, and advertising. Each one has many moving parts along the development process. You must be able to effectively manage workflows, templates, automation, regulatory and environmental constraints, and multiple stakeholders for each product in the pipeline. Having a central location where team members can access this information is the best way to achieve good communication and collaboration along the process.

Best Practices in Product Specification Management

One of the biggest factors affecting trends in consumer goods is the current state of the economy. This means that companies must be able to keep the costs of production down, so they can offer goods at lower prices, and this means lean management in product development is more important than ever. Here are a few best practices to help you achieve this.

1. Listen to Your Customers

Customer feedback is an excellent resource for generating new product ideas. Listening to them will give you new ideas to help solve a problem or ideas on how to improve existing products. Do they want more features? Are there features they find unacceptable or annoying?

2. Clearly Define the Problem

Customer feedback is an excellent source of inspiration, but the most important step in effective product development is to clearly define the problem it will solve. These should be noted in the product summary. They should be a guiding principle that follows the product throughout the entirety of the development process.

3. Include Everyone in the Discussion

One of the common scenarios in product development is that the initial discussion is among only those in the early stages of planning and development. This means those involved in packaging, marketing, and approval must often adapt to challenging circumstances. Having everyone along at every step of the process on board in the beginning helps everyone understand the vision and leads to greater efficiency and collaboration throughout the entire process.

4. Do User Testing

One mistake many companies make is that they skip user testing. While this might seem like a cost-saving move, it is also a critical part of the development process that can mean the difference between success and failure. User testing and evaluation can help eliminate any unfortunate surprises at product launches.

Finding the Right Product Specification Management Solutions

Achieving best practices in product specification management begins with the right software. Having a single place to keep the Excel spreadsheets, data from PLM systems, and quality control software helps all team members have an overview of where the product is in the development process. Outdated legacy systems can slow the speed to market and lead to frustration.

Finding a software solution that allows you to not only store information but integrates all the data that goes into the product development cycle is the first step to achieving your goals. A software package that achieves this saves you time and gives you greater accountability. This is the key to resource allocation, and it can help save money to ensure you get the best return for your investment.

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