The Pet Rock Made Sense: NPD Projects Need to Benefit from the Entire Value Chain

4 June 2010
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Pet RockIn 1975 Gary Dahl was sitting at a bar listening to his friends complaining about their pets.  This mundane incident led Gary to inventing the Pet Rock that would make him an instant millionaire in a span of 6 months.  At face value, it would seem Gary had a stroke of luck with coming up with the right idea at the right time.  But the reality was, Gary Dahl did more than just come up with a clever concept. As an Ad Exec by profession, Gary understood that there was much more to his project’s success than just executing on the conception and design phases.  From sourcing the rocks at pennies a piece, to manufacturing the box and manual that were sold with his product (at an estimated cost of 65 cents ), to effectively promoting and distributing his product to consumers at the optimal price of $3.95, Gary fully executed on his Pet Rock concept by covering all phases in the lifecycle of his product which included the Define, Design, Supply, Manufacture, Promote, and Service phases.   Well maybe not the Service phase… there was no need to service the Pet Rock once it was in the hand of the consumer.  At any rate, the “Pet Rock” project is an excellent example of a successful product development project from conception until it reached the hands of the consumer.

Unfortunately, most product development projects do not formally adhere to a project and portfolio management strategy that includes all product lifecycle phases.  Typically product development groups will adopt an IT strategy that is focused on tracking tactical deliverables within the Define and Design phases.   Like the Pet Rock project, product development groups need to consider all stakeholders and processes that are responsible for the product’s success including the multiple value chains responsible for supplying, manufacturing, promoting and servicing that occurs after the project has been closed.

To learn how an effective Process-Driven PPM strategy can play a critical role in streamlining your NPD projects, I welcome you to read my recently published white paper entitled, “Process-Driven PPM: Getting the Most Out of Your New Product Development Projects.”

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