According to the Houston Chronicle, the functions of a research and development department are to engage in new product research and development, existing product updates, quality checks and innovation. The functions of this department are closely related to the functions of the sales, production and other divisions, requiring collaboration. The department is crucial in developing new products that are competitive in the market through extensive product and market research.
Before the development of a new product, the research and development department conducts extensive research to support the product, which includes product specifications, product costs and production time lines. A thorough evaluation of the need for the product in the market is also conducted as part of the research to determine the relevance of the new product before the development phase commences. The development phase deals with the creation of the product from the specifications established during the research function, and the products are also developed to meet all regulatory requirements. Regular updates of a company's existing products are also done by the research and development department to ensure that the products are still functional and upgrades are done whenever appropriate. The department also handles quality checks within most companies since they are extremely familiar with the specifications of the company's products. Innovation by the department also helps the company to stay competitive.