California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Packaging Waste Reduction

Total Product/Packaging Development Process

Excerpts from course materials prepared by:
Jorge A. Marcondes, Ph. D.

  1. Why product development
  2. Problems with new products
  3. What makes a winner
  4. Activities in the total product development process
  5. Packaging and the product development process

1.  Why product development

  • Survival and growth: example--introduction of new models in the electronics industry.
  • Dynamic market: changes should be anticipated and expected--the changes make products obsolete and new ones necessary
  • Smoothing out returns and spreading the risk: product diversification, not "all eggs in one basket", cyclical or seasonal products
  • Maturing markets: proliferation of new products shortens life cycle of existing products, more choices make customers less brand loyal which forces companies to create new products to keep customers.

2.  Problems with new products

  • Product failure: great majority of products to not make it.
  • Time from concept to reality: the longer the time, the higher risk of product failure.
  • High costs of development.

3.  What makes a winner

  • Corporate commitment: incorporation of product development in the business strategy.
  • Systematic and integrated process: system in place that includes all activities form initial concept to final launch and follow up.
  • Consistency, quality and speed: for execution of each activity in the total product development process.

4.  Activities in the total product development process

  1. Initial screening: initial go/no go decision where it is first decided to allocate funds to the proposed new product idea
  2. Preliminary market assessment: an initial, quick look at the market
  3. Preliminary technical assessment: an initial appraisal of the technical merits and difficulties of the project
  4. Detailed market study: market research involving a reasonable sample size and proper design
  5. Business/financial analysis: a financial analysis leading to a go/no go decision prior to development
  6. Total product development: the actual design of the product and primary package (depending on the product), resulting in a prototype
  7. In house product testing: testing products (and in some cases, primary package) with consumer in real life conditions
  8. Customer tests of products: testing products (and in some cases, primary package) with consumer in real life conditions
  9. Test market/trial sell: trial marketing of the product (and primary and transport packages) with a limited number of consumers
  10. Trial production: trial production and packaging lines to test facilities
  11. Pre commercialization business analysis: a detailed financial analysis prior to full scale launch
  12. Production start up: start up a full scale commercial production
  13. Market launch: market launch of the product on a commercial basis

Management of the total product development

  • Sequential versus parallel processes
  • What activities listed in above table can be done simultaneously, rather than on a sequential basis?

Total product development should be an integrated rather than a segmented process

  • Total product development is a diverse activity requiring involvement from a variety of people, departments and disciplines (within and outside company)
  • Diversity of activities leads to division into appropriate areas (marketing, engineering, etc.)
  • Division leads to inefficient coordination and integration towards a common goal

An efficient total product development should be an integrated activity, with the involvement of general management, marketing, technology, production, and finance. Good communication is essential.

Integration takes place at three levels:

  • the company's goals and strategic planning
  • management to encourage vertical and horizontal communication
  • tasks required to complete project

Speeding up the development cycle results in:

  • reduced development costs
  • earlier revenue from sales
  • greater market share
  • longer life-cycle

How to shorten development cycle:

  • promote parallel activities
  • reduce stage-wise approach
  • improve communication and information transfer from stage to stage

5.  Packaging and the product development process

Project Aim, Objective, and Constraints:

  • Product idea generation, screen product ideas
  • Package idea generation, screen package ideas

Define Total Product Concept:

  • Product design brief, product design, product testing
  • Package design brief, package design, package testing
  • Total product screening, scale-up, trial production, commercialization

Project Aim, Objective, and Constraints:

  • Aim--ultimate outcome required at the end of the project and must be relevant to the company's overall business strategy.  It should be clear, specific, and recognized by all people working on the project.
  • Objectives--major tasks to be completed at different stages of the project.  It should include only the major milestones and provide a basis for more detailed project planning.
  • Constraints--provide the framework, limits, and restrictions that ensure the project is consistent with company's strategies and capabilities.

Idea generation

Idea generation phase should:

  • be on-going (sessions held often)
  • have a specific purpose
  • involve whole company
  • use a variety of methods
  • appoint one person responsible
  • not evaluate ideas

Rules for creative sessions:

  • do not criticize idea or person
  • be freewheeling
  • build up on others ideas
  • generate as many ideas as possible
  • listen to and understand all ideas
  • ensure all participate

Screen ideas

  • Establish screening criteria (using goals and strategy of company)
  • Stepwise evaluation (eliminating ideas by pass/fail tests)
  • Group evaluation (involve personnel from marketing, technical, production, and finance)
  • Record results


  • availability of packaging equipment
  • compatibility with existing packaging lines


  • compatibility of packaging and product image
  • compatibility with existing product lines and packaging
  • compatibility with distribution channels
  • promotional expenditure required

Jorge Marcondes is Associate Professor at San Jose State University and Packaging Program Coordinator.  The Packaging Program is internationally known and its graduates are proving to be highly successful.  The curriculum is tailored to provide a comprehensive foundation of packaging principles and practices in design, materials handling, and distribution, production, testing and evaluation, regulatory practices and environmental concerns.  For more information about the Packaging Program, visit their Web site at

Last updated: January 1, 1998
Packaging Waste Reduction,
Business Assistance