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NZ-First Product Development Study Launched

Auckland, 12 July 2004.

Massey University Launches New Zealand-First Product Development Study

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to benefit most from a Massey University study on New Zealand's product development practices.

Announced during the two-week long New Zealand Innovation Festival, the study, known as the 'Product Development Benchmark Study' will survey 1,000 companies, and is the first of its kind to be conducted in New Zealand.

The Product Development Benchmark Study offers companies a way of assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and provides exciting opportunities for businesses to work together, share experiences and achieve world class performance, says Dr Aruna Shekar, Director of Massey University's Centre for Product Innovation.

New Zealand corporate icons such as Carter Holt Harvey, Air New Zealand and Fisher & Paykel have agreed to participate, and the study organisers are looking for more.

"Any company, big or small can take advantage from being involved in this programme. Research has shown that product development is essential to company survival. By conducting this survey measuring the practices in product development across various industry groups, and then benchmarking the results internationally, we will form a resource for industry to improve their technological innovations and help them grow their businesses," she says.

The results will help companies measure their performance with national leaders as well as with international best practice companies. They will then be able to understand their strengths and weaknesses and be able to focus improvement on areas that bring most value to their business, says Dr Shekar.

"Companies can learn from those who have been successful. The research will benefit manufacturing and service industries, particularly SMEs that most often lack essential resources and techniques to develop new products and be competitive in the marketplace."

Massey University's Centre for Product Innovation is in partnership with the American Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) to bring world class knowledge in innovation practices to New Zealand.

The Product Development Benchmarking Study forms will be sent out in a fortnight, with results expected in October.

ENDS

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