By: Allen Porstner-Scheuka
So you’ve come up with a product you know could be a game changer. The tough work of coming up with new ideas, designing and testing with prototypes, is only the beginning. As an advanced manufacturer, how do you successfully launch new products into the market?
During the ever-critical commercialization stage, several factors come into play: speed of acceptance by consumers and channel members, initial distribution channels, your own production capabilities and managing costs until profitability.
The Woodbridge Group, with its Foam Corporation in Brampton, Ontario, is a prime example of how to do it right. Before it was “fashionable” to be green, Woodbridge pioneered the green revolution in the global auto industry. As early as 1990 the company trialed the substitution of raw oils in order to develop more eco-friendly materials and derivatives. The green material, BioFoam, is one example of the company’s successful commercialization of a green material. Derived from plant seed oils instead of petroleum, BioFoam today is used in the seat cushions, head restraints and arm rests of several popular vehicles.
Woodbridge overcame many hurdles in order to successfully commercialize green and sustainable chemistry in the automotive industry. A top priority along the way was to search for channel partners: suppliers and customers that would share in their success.
Industry expert at Innovate>Forward’s next session is Dr. Hamdy Khalil, presenting on Channel Development: Leveraging Your Upstream and Downstream Partners. Dr. Khalil has been Global Technical Director (R&D and Product Development) Woodbridge Foam Corporation since 1997, leading the team that introduced and commercialized these renewable materials.
Look for Session Six, of Innovate>Forward, Channel Development, to be held Tuesday, May 15, 7.30 AM to 9.30 AM.
Allen is the business analyst at the RIC Centre. He works with entrepreneurs in residence and RIC clients on a regular basis. He is currently pursuing an M.B.A from the DeGroote School of business at McMaster University.