hnd You Can't Lead By Following!
According to industry studies, product innovation is strongly linked to financial success. What’s more, leaders do much better financially than followers. However, new product development (NPD) is laden with risk. As Niccolo Machiavelli said over 500 years ago, “…there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Therefore, the key to success is the management of risk. The problem is that many processes intended to minimize risk are so complex that they'll expose you to one of the greatest risks of all; getting to market too late!


Our goal is to help you to develop an integrated system to maximize your chances of success by managing the inherent risks in an effective and efficient manner.

Our Approach
In spite of decades of experience, we don’t have all the answers for you because your company, like all others, is unique. One size does not fit all! We will work with your management team, of course. Equally important, however, we will work with the people who are (or should be!) directly involved with the NPD process to discover what works for your company and what does not. Based on best practices and proven methodologies, we will help you to develop a process that is right for you. We can then work with you as you put the process into practice to further refine it.


Successful New Product Development depends on three key ingredients:
People, Culture and Process.

Offered Services

Assessment

     Just as you must not design products for your customers without fully understanding their needs as well as their wants, no consultant can provide proper guidance without understanding your unique realities.

     The foundation for your New Product program must be your corporate strategy and upon that must be built your New Product strategy. We will start by gaining an understanding of both and, if necessary, helping you to clarify or enhance them.

     Regardless of your strategy, successful New Product Development depends on three key elements; People, Culture and Process.

     People are the key, of course. Beyond technical competence, they must have a visceral understanding of the broader business issues and how their expertise fits into the total mosaic.

     Unless the executive staff and the people “in the trenches" are willing to support each other even when things are going wrong, there will be little willingness to tackle the tough projects that can really make a difference. Building and maintaining a collaborative, risk-tolerant culture is essential.

     Whether or not it’s formal, if you develop new products at all; you do have a process. However, unless it’s a robust process, tailored to the company’s strategy and culture, even the best people will flounder.

     We will work with you to assess your strategy, culture, people and process and to create a plan to build on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.


“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

Process Development

     Let’s start with a basic premise; New Product Development, if it is to be successful, must be a key priority for the company. As such, it deserves and demands the personal attention of the executive team. Success will come only when the executive team accepts its responsibility to provide ongoing guidance. The degree of guidance or oversight needed, however, depends on both the company’s tolerance for risk and the risk inherent in its projects. Therefore, there is no “canned” process that is right for every company or even for every project. While the basic steps in a development process may be similar, the level of control must be appropriate to the company’s realities. Based on core principals and an assessment of your realities, we will work with you to create a process that gives you an appropriate level of control while minimizing unproductive and dispiriting red tape.

     Though the overall process may be customized, not every element must be developed from scratch. We can provide you with templates and tools to increase efficiency and standardize results.


The right practice for you is one that delivers the needed level of control with no more administrative overhead than necessary.

Education & Training

     Training in the “what” is insufficient. In order to work as a cohesive, collaborative team, people must fully understand the business rational for each element in the process and the critical role each team member plays in it. Furthermore, each player must understand how his or her role relates to that of every other player. Once a process has been developed, we can provide both education and training; the former to develop understanding of the principals and the latter to develop understanding of how the game is to be played.

     If needed, we can also do training in team dynamics to assure that your teams are working smoothly together.


Excellent people and an excellent process mean nothing if the two elements are not in harmony.

Discovering Customer Needs

     The late Steve Jobs said, “A lot of times, people don't know what they want… until you show it to them.” Before they were available, did any of us know we “needed” cell phones or DVR’s? Of course not! Yet few of us can imagine life without them. Asking customers what they want is necessary, of course, but it only scratches the surface. Understanding of customer needs involves intimacy between key developers and customers at all levels in the distribution chain. We can help you discover a methodology to delight your customers by solving problems they were not even conscious that they had!


Asking customers what they need or want will not get you where you need to go. You must discover their needs before they are conscious of them.

Project Oversight

     Steel is hardened and tempered only with heat. Likewise, it is only in the heat of a real project that you will discover what works and what does not. Whether it’s a minor flaw in the process itself or a lack of understanding on that part of an associate, the issue must be isolated and addressed. We can work with you through a project or two, meeting periodically with members of both executive and project teams, to refine the process to your satisfaction.


We won’t “love you and leave you”. We can work with your people as they conduct a project to assure that the process is working optimally.

Resources

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hnd Who We Are

Jack Welsch has had over 4 decades of experience in engineering and new product development at all levels and has been awarded over 35 U.S. and many foreign patents. He has been directly involved with the phased and gated process for new product development since 1979 and has spent much of his time and energy in the implementation and refinement of the process.

While most of his career has been spent in manufacturing companies, he has taught the business aspects of product development as an adjunct instructor at both Lehigh and Wilkes Universities and has served as Chairman of Wilkes University's Industrial Advisory Board.

He has been a speaker on the subject at numerous conferences, including those at Cornell, Lehigh and Wilkes Universities. He was also honored to be a featured speaker at the prestigious Stage-Gate® Innovation Summit hosted by noted Stage-Gate® guru, Dr. Robert Cooper.

He is currently Principal of J. H. Welsch Consulting, L.L.C., which is dedicated to helping firms improve their new product development process.

Contact Information

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Phone: 570-351-1722
Home: 570-842-2715

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Jack Welsch