The PDMA New Product Development Glossary supplies the following definition for New Product Introduction:
New Product Introduction (NPI): The launch or commercialization of a new product into the marketplace. Takes place at the end of a successful product development project.
Since this definition uses three more terms (new product, launch and commercialization) we need to dig further.
New Product: A term of many opinions and practices, but most generally defined as a product (either a good or service) new to the firm marketing it. Excludes products that are only changed in promotion.
Launch: The process by which a new product is introduced into the market for initial sale.
Commercialization: The process of taking a new product from development to market. It generally includes production launch and ramp-up, marketing materials and program development, supply chain development, sales channel development, training development, training, and service and support development.
Putting them together we arrive at
New Product Introduction (NPI): The process by which a new product is introduced into the marketplace. Takes place at the end of a successful product development project.
While the guys at PDMA have done a fairly good attempt of defining NPI, it is fundamentally flawed. The flaw lies in the orientation. It’s an inside out definition from a product development perspective.
Product launch is not the end of the development process it’s the beginning of the sales process.
What if there was no development process? Every day organizations introduce new products to market that are sourced from other parties. Every day established products are launched (or relaunched).
I use a business-oriented definition of product launch that is more encompassing and more accurately describes the desired outcome:
Product Launch is the process of introducing a product to a market in such a way it generates momentum.
That’s what we want to do right? Whether the product is new, a new version or sourced from another supplier our goal is to generate momentum.