Product optimization is the process of making changes or altering a product to make it more desirable for consumers. Other than increasing desirability, the goals of product optimization are to improve certain marketing metrics such as purchase intent, purchase frequency and believability. Typically, a product can be optimized by making minor design and functionality adjustments. The practice is considered beneficial for companies and manufacturers as it usually reduces the cost of manufacturing, increases profitability, increases efficiency and production capacity, improves competency and makes the product more desirable.
Central to product optimization is the idea of improving the ability to quickly and successfully develop and introduce new product in the market to achieve greater business success. In this regard, it is important to develop superior product in terms of:
- Offering features that are not available in competing products
- Meeting the needs of consumers better and quicker than competitors.
- Solving the problems consumers indentify in competing products.
- Reducing the costs incurred by consumers and increasing user-value.
- Putting greater emphasis on innovation.
If a product scores low on these criteria, it means that it has a low chance of succeeding in the market and urgently needs improvement or optimization. Developing a product that benefits both the producer and the consumer requires:
- Identifying the target demographic to understand who the intended end-user of the product is.
- Conducting comprehensive market research to identify consumer needs, expectations and preferences, and to understand what attributes define a better product.
- Using the information from the research to devise viable solutions for the product in terms of features, specifications, requirements and attributes.
- Defining the concept of the product—description, functionality and benefits to the consumer.
- Testing the product to ensure that it meets consumer needs and expectations. Testing requires the involvement of consumers through the development process to collect valuable input to make adjustments before the final product takes form.
Process optimization on the other hand is the method of mapping all the routine activities within a process and then eliminating errors by standardizing or improving the routines. Process optimization leads to significant reductions in unnecessary tasks, wastes and errors, and improvements in methods to achieve better results. Other important goals include reducing unnecessary costs, and eliminating bottlenecks and frequent mistakes while achieving objectives of the process. A successful process optimization results in better and reliable deliveries, highly integrated activities, development of better and efficient solutions, higher flexibility in tasks, reduced need of reworking, and better flow of information. The major optimization steps include:
- Process mapping.
- Identifying and eliminating errors and faults.
- Improving the allocation of resources.
- Formally establishing the new method.