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Time to market (TTM) is a term that is used to describe the period of time that it takes to come up with an idea for a product, follow through with the design and development of that product and ultimately bring it to a point that it can be marketed to consumers. While there are different concepts regarding the actual steps involved in this process, the general idea can be used for businesses of all types or sizes. The idea is to create a time line that allows for all relevant tasks to occur in a logical sequence, with an eye toward preventing the skipping of essential steps while also managing the cost of resources used in each stage from inspiration to delivery of the finished product.
The time to market process begins with the creation of an idea for a product, usually based on the perception of a need within the marketplace. At this juncture, the idea is to come up with a general idea for a product that will meet the perceived need. From there, the development of some sort of prototype is likely to follow, making it possible to then run the prototype through a series of tests to determine if it meets market standards and provides the benefits necessary to meet the market need. From there, the mass production process for the product is designed, with an eye toward encouraging the highest level of production, even as quality is maintained and costs are kept to a minimum. The final stage of the time to market process involves securing and supply outlets with the product, allowing consumers the opportunity to purchase the goods or services.
Each business engaging in the time to market approach will vary in the degree of complexity involved in each of the phases or steps associated. In some cases, the process may be relatively straightforward, especially after the product development is complete. At other times, the time to market may require an extended period of time as investigations into compliance with market standards or governmental regulations continue. Issues such as adjusting procedures, changes in the staff and other resources used in the development, and even the final packaging for the good produced can shorten or lengthen the time to market.
In the end, the use of a time to market approach can aid a company in working out any issues with production as well as determining the retail price for the goods produced. When managed properly, the process helps to eliminate waste and sharpen the production process so that the ability to turn a profit with the new product is enhanced. As new information is generated throughout the process, those details can be integrated into the overall time to market, positioning the operation to move forward with a degree of efficiency that would be hard to accomplish otherwise.