A successful new product launch involves surgical precision. Production, logistics, fulfillment, marketing, customer service and sales must be aligned to ensure the products are delivered on time and to specification. This process requires open and precise communication between departments and supply chain partners.
Green manufacturers, both those that are new to the market and established brands adopting new, greener processes, can experience significant roadblocks when it comes to bringing new products to new audiences. By keeping communication flowing across channels, green manufactures can increase the probability of a successful launch.
Proactive Internal Integration and Collaboration
Seamless internal integration among departments is essential for day-to-day operations, but it takes on new importance for green manufacturers launching new products. It is important to understand where product demand is coming from, not only geographically but also demographically. This information helps the sales department better target their efforts and make future projections.
Demand data can be important to production and supply chain processes, as well. Production depends upon not only the efforts of sales and marketing, but also on the data and intelligence they collect. Conversely, sales and marketing efforts can only be properly planned, initiated, and optimized when there is a full understanding of logistical capabilities and constraints.
Be Sure You can Back Up the Hype
Marketing hype can often mean the difference between a successful product launch and a failure. When increased visibility leads to increased demand, success can seem imminent. But if logistics and supply chain partners are unable to meet demand, there can be trouble in the marketplace. While scarcity may seem like a viable strategy to generate buzz, if customers are unable to get their hands on new products, it can have a negative impact on brand image, especially for young companies. The last thing a new green manufacturer needs is the perception that they are too small or too lean to handle large demand.
Workflow organization is the key to launching a new product and meeting demand. From design to launch, workflow can be difficult to manage for new and growing green manufactures. It is important to take extra time during the development process to have a full understanding of what the production ramp-up will be like. If the target market believes the hype and generates big demand, will the supply chain be able to keep up?
Just as production and logistics are critical to meeting demand, so is customer service and experience. It is important that green manufacturers have the ability to handle inbound customer inquiries and orders efficiently. When new customers reach out to ask questions or place orders, they will expect their calls to be handled quickly and professionally. That means setting up some best practices for customer service, including:
Create a bank of agents and call centers. Current staff may not be equipped to handle an influx of new product calls. As sales and marketing get a feel for demand, call center staffing can be planned to meet the needs of new customers.
Consistent customer experience. It will be important that all calls are handled the same way, every time. In order to create a consistent customer experience, a single, online communications system will need to be in place. With an online phone system, calls from anywhere in the country or the world can be routed to inbound call centers. There is no need to expand hardware in order to reach out to new customers. Green manufacturers can simply generate local and toll-free numbers that will make it easy for customers to reach out and connect.
Ban busy signals. Customers should not experience dead air or busy signals when attempting to reach a green manufacturer. Online phone systems offer call routing technology that will ensure calls are always answered by an agent.
Eliminate the wait. Potential customers won’t sit on hold for 20 minutes for a product that they aren’t familiar with. It’s critical that inbound calls be answered quickly during a product launch to a new audience. Use data from call reports to design intelligent call routing plans that will roll calls to other agents or call centers during periods of high volume.
Communication: The Driving Force Behind a Successful Launch
Product launches can make or break green manufacturers. In order to increase the chances that a launch will be successful, communication is key. Integration is essential among internal departments, suppliers, and with potential customers. By removing communication barriers, green manufacturers can get a firm handle on demand, production, logistics capabilities, and market response. It is important for green manufacturers to approach launches strategically, and never lose sight of the importance of communication and collaboration.