Processes are developed to manufacture new products or to improve manufacture of existing products. It is common for many new products to use existing plants and process lines if possible in order to minimize capital investment. Companies often speak of platforms meaning technologies that underlie several products. Examples are baking for cookies and crackers, frying for snacks, extrusion for breakfast cereal, and aseptic processing for food service dairy mixes. Even within a platform, there can be development challenges for new applications.
Developing truly new processes is rare but can be satisfying and rewarding for the firm that succeeds. One approach is described below.
Morphological analysis is a technique related to Synectics and some other ways of organizing ideas and stimulating creativity that has been used successfully to develop novel processes. The concept is to identify the key characteristics or parameters of a candidate challenge and then to identify the various...