Stage 4 is the test market phase. According to Carper, "Manufacture begins here and additional history is obtained on the product, leading to improvements, manufacturing optimization and any other necessities."
Finally, Stage 5 involves a national launch. In this stage, Team Tyson develops and implements a fully integrated marketing plan that stimulates the initial trial of Stage 4 with the goal of leading to repeat purchases.
"Consumers are very clear in maintaining high expectations for a Tyson product," says Carper. "In other words, it must be a quality product that tastes great and is safe and nutritious. A key part of our product launch success is also listening to consumers and customers and then translating their unmet needs into viable meal solutions for themselves, their guests or their customers. We seek to ensure we are delivering on customers' expectations of us throughout our extensive research initiatives."
Fundamentals of success
So, with the new product out where the rubber meets the road, what are key indicators of a successful new-product launch? "Obviously trial and repeat are fundamental to new product success," Carper answers. "But also, creating a product with 'buzz' is important. We want customers, consumers and the media excited and communicating positively about our new products."
Another measure of success for the food giant is industry response. "We have received numerous product awards from our foodservice customers throughout 2005," says Carper. "The awards recognize specific new product development and innovation and include products across all the proteins: chicken, beef and pork."
How long the product stays in the market at acceptable volume and margin shows promise for long-term viability. It also supports the overall view of Tyson in the marketplace. "As the world's leading protein provider and with our brand image of trust and quality, consumers are receptive to Tyson entering new food categories where we are currently not present. Consumers expect Tyson to be a category innovator," Carper says.
KEYS TO THE TYSON FORMULA
Tyson's approach to R&D involves focusing on several key steps, according to R&D senior vice president Hal Carper:
TYSON PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, STEP BY STEP
Tyson employs a Stage or Phase Gate Process to manage new product development: