The Blue Group selected online personalized fashion as its product to implement. The idea for My Design Fashion is to create a new business or expand an existing business that allows shoppers to select pieces of clothing and design them to their personal fashion tastes. Online tools such as a virtual dressing room will be provided to provide an even more personalized experience. Previously this concept was used in the ideation phase and now the Blue Group has been tasked with moving it through the realization process by identifying the value My Design Fashion will provide customers, explaining the steps used to implement the product, applying a newly selected , and identifying the strengths and weaknesses found during the this process.
Skarzynski and Gibson would describe My Design Fashion as a business model innovation which serve unmet needs of customers, provide new benefits, or deliver value in an unconventional way (2008, Ch 5, p. 1). The My Design Fashion business model innovation solves many of the problems normally experienced when shopping for clothing online. Shoppers will have the tools to know that the garment is going to fit the way they want it to. Time and money will be saved in eliminating returns due to dissatisfaction or poor fit. The clothing pieces will be pre-made and adjustments will be made to the customer’s specifications. This will allow quick delivery and also provide a customized garment at an affordable price. Business Link writes that “knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business”. Once organizations have this knowledge, they can use it to persuade customers that buying from them is in their best interests (n.d.).
The primary need met by My Design Fashion’s product is a sense of identity and increased self confidence. It is important for women to feel comfortable in their clothing and feel that they look good. Women are willing to pay a little more for clothing they really like and that make them look good. Knowing that they can get this from My Design Fashion will attract women to the site and increase sales. Product Development or Management Process, Methodology or Model The New Product Development Process provided by the Reference for Business Encyclopedia of Business outlines the seven-step process used by most companies (Mayo, 2012).
Figure 1. New Product Development Process, Factors and Strategies (Mayo, 2012)
The first three steps of the process were explored in the Blue Group’s previous paper. Idea generation took place when each member submitted an innovative idea for the group’s consideration. During the idea screening step, all ideas were considered by applying an ideation model to each one and the idea which showed the most promise for implementation was selected. The third stage of concept development was started when the group outlined the concept and how it could work. In order to complete this stage, market research must be performed to obtain the opinions of the consumers. The next stage of business analysis will analyze My Design Fashion’s concept for its marketability and costs. During the first four stages, little monetary investment has been made to the new idea.
It is at this point that the group would decide if the idea is worth moving forward. Prototype development is the fifth stage and is where the concept is converted into an actual product and where costs begin to grow. During this phase, My Design Fashion would create clothing samples and a prototype website. Organizations often use quality function deployment (QFD) when creating the prototype which links the needs of the customer (end user) with design, development, engineering, manufacturing, and service functions. The product must satisfy the customer needs while meeting required quality levels at a specified cost.
Test marketing occurs at the sixth stage. My Design Fashion would test its marketing strategies and prototypes in simulated or actual market situations. If a product tests poorly during this phase, it can be redesigned or discarded. Organizations are cautious with test marketing because of the expense. The final stage of commercialization introduces the product full scale. Considerations include timing decisions for introduction, consumer adoption rates, and coordinating efforts with purchasing, production, distribution, and marketing. Investment and risk levels are highest during this phase.
For the implementation of My Design Fashion, Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner’s Creative Idea Implementation Plan was used. His plan looks at different aspects of the product’s implementation: the idea, the benefits and risks, stumbling blocks, people, authorizations, money, milestones, escape plan, communication plan, and action plan (n.d.).
Baumgartner says the idea must be described in detail along with what makes the idea special. Our idea was described in the ideation paper. What makes the My Design Fashion concept special is that it provides a new type of online shopping experience – one that will result in greater satisfaction and less buyer’s remorse. Additionally, the end product will be better than clothes purchased from other retailers because it will be customized exactly to the buyer’s liking.
Benefits and Risks
The next step is to identify the benefits and risks. If the idea is a good one to pursue through implementation, the benefits should outnumber the risks. BenefitsRisks
•Customers willing to pay more for customized clothes •High customer satisfaction due to easier shopping experience and personalized product •Pre-made pieces of clothing will reduce shipping time and personalization costs •Innovative idea that other online retailers are not offering provides competitive edge •Online retailer reduces costs for brick-and-mortar locations •If provided by existing retailer, costs are minimized•Increased cost to produce customized clothes •Increased costs to create virtual dressing room and personal shopper features on website •Longer wait time for delivery due to time needed for personalization •Increased costs to produce clothes will create higher priced product Stumbling Blocks
Baumgartner defines a stumbling block as “something that can stop, damage, or destroy your implementation before it is complete”. To prevent this, it is important to identify the potential stumbling blocks early on so that the company can get past them should they occur. A few of the stumbling blocks that could hinder My Design Fashion’s implementation include delays in creating the tools necessary for the website (personal shopper, virtual
dressing room, etc), system problems which could impact the site’s performance, marketing the site/product to attract enough customers, and customer’s providing incorrect measurements resulting in an end product that does not fit. Most of these stumbling blocks would be caused be people so it is important to get all staff on board and aligned with the company’s goals. Additionally tools and education should be provided to shoppers so that they understand how to properly measure themselves. It is important that they don’t blame the product when it was their fault it wasn’t the correct size.
All people, organizations, and groups who should be involved in the implementation need to be identified. If the My Design Fashion concept is adopted by an existing online clothing retailer, upper management, including directors and CEOs need to be involved as well as the employees who will be supporting the website and phone support. People could also include customers if there is an existing customer base. If the company will work with other online sites to attract customers, management of those other companies would also be included.
It is important that the organization recognizes the authorizations may be needed to start the business or introduce a new concept. My Design Fashion needs to understand all regulations involved with running an online business. It will want to look at its other processes too like manufacturing, hiring, shipping, advertising, and purchasing. Goods may be cheaper from another country, but it is important that the company understand any laws or regulations involved in purchasing from that country.
Baumgartner suggests calculating all costs involved with the implementation of the idea and the potential income. This is difficult to do for a “pretend” business, but it is important to account for the money that needs to be invested and how to possibly reduce those costs. Exploring various sellers to find the best quality fabric at the best price and identifying processes which could reduce monetary and time investment are ways My Design Fashion can have a positive impact on the money required for its implementation.
A list of milestones that must be achieved on the path to implementation must be noted. For My Design Fashion, this would include goal dates for the website creation, product prototypes, and market research.
Many of the risks have already been identified, but should those risks prove to be too great or should new unexpected risks arise. My Design Fashion should stop or alter its idea if certain milestones aren’t met within a determined time frame. An example would be that if sales do not meet the anticipated target within a year, changes are made or the business ceases. Baumgartner writes that predetermining an escape plan mitigates risk and ensures the company will not continue to invest money in an idea that proven unlikely to meet its potential.
A communication plan will clarify who should know about the implementation, when they should learn about it, and how. It may also include who should not know about the implementation. With the concept of My Design Fashion being a new one, it may want to limit who it unveils the concept to in order to keep it from competitors. But it also may want to communicate the idea immediately in order to be recognized as the innovator behind the new idea.
The last step of Baumgartner’s Creative Idea Implementation Plan is the creation of a step-by-step action plan which will outline every step taken, how long each step will take and what should be achieved. Much of the above information will be incorporated into this action plan. Creating an effective action plan will increase the likelihood that the idea will effectively be implemented.
Product Realization Process Strengths and Weaknesses
Daniel, do you want to take this? There is a good website which lists 20 key elements of a Product Realization Process. You could look at the elements and see if we’ve addressed each one. The first 2 elements are teams/teamwork and communication and I think that is something that we didn’t really focus on as much in our plan, especially if they’re the most important ones. Just an idea – use what you want. http://www.prosci.com/prp1.htm
My Design Fashion will continue to grow and see new opportunities or threats with the technology behind our website. We will have to maintain customers’ requirements and expectations with the demand of custom clothing that channels women’s needs. Women will be able to customize characters so they can enter basic size, height and weight for an even more custom fit so they can see the products in a reality form in a virtual dressing room. Doing this will allow My Design Fashion to surge in front of their competitors by offering efficiency, speed, and add quality through innovation on product creations that will implement our company’s visions.
Baumgartner, J. P. (n.d.). The creative idea implementation plan. Retrieved October 12, 2012 from http://www.jpb.com/creative/ciip.php Business Link. (n.d.). Know your customers’ needs. Retrieved October 12, 2012 from http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1073897627 Evans, D. G., MaKenzie, H. R., & Przirembel, C. (2001). Twenty key elements of a product realization process. BPR Online Learning Center. Retrieved October 20, 2012 from http://www.prosci.com/prp1.htm Mayo, C. M. (2012). New Product Development. Reference for Business: Encyclopedia of Business (2nd ed.). Retrieved October 13, 2012 from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Mar-No/New-Product-Development.html Skarzynski, R., Gibson, R. (2008). Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press