Nano-PM Process Approach and use of the Business Readiness Evaluation Survey


What is the Nano-PM Readiness Survey?  

The Evaluation Survey obtains factual data and information from developers and others associated with a particular product within Nanotechnology and assesses the maturity of their development along the Life Cycle.  The survey assumes the product owner wishes to progress along the life cycle stages from Research, Development, Pilot, and Production to full product ramp and Commercialization.  The survey assesses a Readiness Index for proceeding to the next phases. 

As each new stage gate is approached, the complexities to achievement increase significantly with increased risk in cost and time of development, increased barriers to technology, regulatory and environmental implementation, and need for an increased understanding of market size and product life.  Progressing from research to commercialization requires increased skill sets within an owner team in understanding regulatory compliance issues, production equipment scale-up, infrastructure and the building of production facilities, hiring and training plan for workers, and sales and marketing.  A solid Program Plan will have clear budgets and estimates, time schedules and phasing plans, and identify and mitigate risks, and provide data based information to attract public and private investment.  The Nano-PM survey uses known industry product information, business and program management indices, material science and risk management practices to "score" in the form of a Readiness Index along with written assessment of gaps.  The Nano-PM effort is divided into three phases:

Phase 1           Program Readiness and Decision Making (Survey)

  • A web-based survey identifying stage gate and understanding level of owner/developer with a Nano-PM deliverable as a Readiness Index and written gap analysis.  This phase evaluates current stage of product evolution and evaluates the understanding within the development cycle to assess plans to ensure success in the next stage.  Components focus on defining business operations, product and commercial applications, evaluation of the production technology, risks and uncertainty, business readiness and known barriers and support resources. 

Phase 2           Project Objectives and Criteria (Survey and Investigation)

  • An interactive survey aligned with a personal investigative approach with Nano-PM experts to expand detail on product and process, facility infrastructure and production equipment needs, business models, estimates and budget projections, and phasing schedules for market demand commercialization.  Deliverables are linked to agreed objectives.

Phase 3           Execution Planning and Approach (Team Integration)

  • As part of the owner/developer team, Nano-PM will develop Business Models and Planning tied to specific Nano-technology Market, establish a Program Plan defining a phased implementation from current stage through a defined Mature Market Commercialization with an individual Project Execution Plan for first phase implementation. This phase details the Procurement, Contracting, Project Control and Management, and Operational requirements for the production direction agreed and has a clear plan with resource needs and performance indicators and tracking identified.

Only after these Nano-PM phases are defined would there be the requirement for the significant investments in detail design, engineering, equipment procurement, facility construction, hiring, training, and operational commitments for production expansion. 

The objective is to establish a path to success before you commit to significant resources along an unknown direction!

 Benefits of the Nano-PM Evaluation!                                                           

The Nano-PM Approach is designed to encourage replacing guesses or assumptions with real information, especially related to when a product developer believes it is ready for a commercial launch. The investment in commercialization of a product has a much more explicit focus on business conditions and expected return on investment.  The surveys and approach look toward targeting the following:

  • Technology stages and advantages in Products and Processes
  • Market Segment Potential and Business Model
  • Regulatory and Market Entry Barriers
  • Environmental, Compliance, Investment Risks

The objective is outlining the scope requirements, funding, schedule, risks and resources to achieve the full commercialization goal.   The multi-phase approach from survey to Execution Planning is a tried and true method in the business and development world used by many industries to incrementally determine stage gate readiness with minimal investment. Decisions to go forward to each of the next phases are based on ever increasing detail data and knowledge of risks, costs, timing and opportunities.

The best way to understand the benefits of the Nano-PM Approach is to understand how the first phase survey creates a focus on the following areas:

  • Nanotechnology has the potential to create new and innovative consumer and industrial products and there already exists a wide range of products with significant growth projected across industry segments.  The survey helps define the category and commercial market areas of the product and industry segments that use the materials.  There are numerous industry roadmaps indicating market demand for various nanotechnology material and impact on the value chain and market acceptance to new products.
  • Nanotechnology, by its very nature, uses newly developed technology in various forms to define the process characteristics for creating the product.  The survey identifies the repeatability of required production technology and the similarities to known technologies or IP issues in commercial production.  This will compare the ease of utilizing available equipment, resources, facilities and infrastructure to ramp production of the new technology.
  • Nanotechnology presents the insurance and risk management industries with significant challenges and opportunities. Central to the survey are defining these relatively unknown environmental, health and safety exposures arising from nanomaterial through their life cycle.
  • The survey helps to define other inherent risks and uncertainty to insurance providers to assess availability to offer risk transfer products, outline the potential effectiveness of risk management, the availability of insurance to offer risk transfer products, and the ability of insurers to establish suitable reserving practices.
  • The alignment of commercial market of the product and assessment of risks and uncertainty provide direct information as well to the investor community.  The survey Readiness Index evaluates not only the product technology but questions the business readiness of the developer to the investment community in realistic assessment of scope stages, funding, and schedules to achieve market.
  • This Survey further explores key barriers and support from governments and available resources to assess the external stakeholder collaboration to pursue the safe and efficient commercial use of the defined nanotechnology.

In summary, by virtue of the first phase of the Survey, the developer/owner will be able to provide data to quench industry’s primary interest to achieve a greater understanding of the level of knowledge, the preparedness, and hazards from the nanotechnology product the developer is considering commercializing. This will promote risk awareness, risk management and above all, data to assess a sound investment opportunity.  Follow on phases gradually bring Nano-PM and the developer/owner together with as needed support as an integral team that will manage and control the staged development from beginning to start of operations.