Industrial companies' evaluation criteria in new product development gates

  • Hart S
  • Hultink E
  • Tzokas N
 et al. 
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Abstract

This article presents the results of a study on the evaluation criteria that companies use at several gates in the NPD process. The findings from 166 managers suggest that companies use different criteria at different NPD evaluation gates. While such criteria as technical feasibility, intuition and market potential are stressed in the early-screening gates of the NPD process, a focus on product performance, quality, and staying within the development budget are considered of paramount importance after the product has been developed. During and after commercialization, customer acceptance and satisfaction and unit sales are primary considerations. In addition, based on the performance dimensions developed by Griffin and Page (1993), we derive patterns of use of various evaluative dimensions at the NPD gates. Our results show that while the market acceptance dimension permeates evaluation at all the gates in the NPD process, the financial dimension is especially important during the business analysis gate and after-market launch. The product performance dimension figures strongly in the product and market testing gates. The importance of our additional set of criteria (i.e., product uniqueness, market potential, market chance, technical feasibility, and intuition) decreases as the NPD process unfolds. Overall the above pattern of dimensions' usage holds true for both countries in which we collected our data, and across firms of different sizes, holding different market share positions, with different NPD drivers, following different innovation strategies, and developing different types of new products. The results also are stable for respondents that differ in terms of expertise and functional background. The results of this study provide useful guidelines for project selection and evaluation purposes and therefore can be helpful for effective investment decision-making at gate-meetings and for project portfolio management. We elaborate on these guidelines for product developers and marketers wishing to employ evaluation criteria in their NPD gates, and we discuss directions for further research.

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Authors

  • Susan Hart

  • Erik Jan Hultink

  • Nikolaos Tzokas

  • Harry R. Commandeur

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