Student guide Faculty of Economics A.Y. 2010/11

Production Innovation and Development
Aim of the course
The highly competitive market context of today, characterised by the advent of companies based in low-labour cost countries competing directly with equivalent products, has prompted a search for novel rationales and operational approaches to competition.
The ability to innovate is one of the principal levers that companies located in the "old world" have chosen to employ, and so the ability to manage innovation is becoming an essential condition for survival, especially within the Italian industrial context (composed prevalently of SMEs).

In light of this dynamic, complex and evolving market situation, the course provides a thorough grounding in the modern methods for generating innovation within processes for developing new products or services.
Because this is a horizontal discipline with business organisation, the topics covered range from strategic marketing decisions to organisation of the market launch, from the search for a concept to production process set-up, from identification of the client's needs to rapid prototyping methods.
The above topics are naturally covered from a specific perspective of searching for innovation and developing new products/services.

The course is divided into four parts. The first part begins by defining the role of innovation, followed by a review of the principal ideas of marketing and an analysis of the company functions involved in the innovation process.

The second part, which is the most important for our purposes, analyses the activities involved in the development of an innovatory product, with special emphasis on the Concept Development stage. And in fact this is the strategic phase that occupies most of the lessons, with illustration of the following major subject areas, also through description of case studies: methods for understanding customer expectations (customer needs), planning of new product development, the search for innovative themes, exploration and definition of the technical and technological principles of the product (concept), definition of the product specifications (Quality Functional Deployment).

The third part of the course deals with the methods employed for the economic evaluation of new products/projects (Net Present Value, IRR, etc.), risk analysis, and finally the drafting of the business plan.

The final part provides a concise but comprehensive overview of the technical phases of the product development cycle, i.e. industrial design, development, product and process engineering, user testing, sampling and industrial preproduction, ending with the fundamental elements of the product market launch, from the communication plan to after-sales activities.
The course is divided into four sections, as follows:

Part One - Innovation

1. Introduction to the concept of innovation
2. Levels of innovation
3. The innovation process
4. Difficulty innovating
5. Innovation = managerial process
6. Competitiveness through innovation
7. Success through product development
8. Role of the Project Manager
9. Strategic product planning
10. Types of development
11. The Product Plan

Part Two - Search for the new product

12. The development process
13. Structures for development
14. Definition of Concept Development
15. Identifying the needs of the client
16. Defining specific product targets
17. Analysis of the competition
18. Positioning on the market
19. The value chain
20. Generation of product concepts
21. Mortality curve of ideas
22. Concept search methods
23. Selection of product concepts
24. Final specifications of the new product
25. Quality Functional Deployment (QFD)

Part Three - The economic aspects

26. Economic analysis
27. Quantitative analysis
28. Cash Flow for a new product
29. Net Present Value (NPV);
30. Risk analysis
31. The Business Plan

Part Four - Technical development

32. Technical development of the product
33. Architecture of the project
34. Industrial design
35. Evaluation of costs
36. Management of costs
37. Reduction of costs: Design for Manufacturing and Value Analysis
38. The design cycle
39. Product and process engineering
40. The prototype
41. Prototyping methods
42. Production process set-up and pre-production
43. The market launch plan
44. The communication plan
45. Training and pre/after sales services

Copies of the slides used during individual lectures can be downloaded from the university website.

The course will include three case study exercises, on dates to be established, also with contributions by external specialists.

Attendance at lectures is recommended.
There will be an oral examination at the end of the course. Attendance at the lectures and tutorial sessions will also count toward the final result.
Reading list
Reference textbook:
Ulrich, K. T., Eppinger, S. D., Progettazione e Sviluppo del Prodotto, McGraw-Hill latest edition available in Italian.

Recommended further reading:
Tidd, Bessant, Pavitt, Management dell'Innovazione, Guerini e Associati.
Lambin, J.J., Marketing, McGraw-Hill.
Clark, K.B., Fujimoto, T., Product Development Performance, Il Sole 24 Ore.
Momo, Zucchelli, Design to Success, ISEDI.