Page 1: Introduction
A main source of business growth is through product innovation. New products often come from ideas. These are either new ideas or ideas for extension strategies for existing products or services. An idea is a plan, a scheme, method or a thought process. By their very nature new ideas are creative. They often provide solutions to problems. They help to meet the needs of customers and they also make products distinctive from those of the competition.
If organisations are to succeed, they rely on a constant stream of new ideas. Ideas for new products can come from many places, such as market research or research and development. Ideas can also come from monitoring the actions of competitors or identifying a gap in the market. Organisations need a coherent process to develop potential new ideas. Many new ideas follow a process before being implemented. One process could be: ideas are generated, captured, screened and tested before being used. For many large organisations this is a constant cyclical process.
Developing products to meet customer needs
This case study illustrates how Portakabin , a manufacturer of factory produced buildings, has developed a range of new products called Essential Business Solutions (EBS). The purpose of EBS was to develop products that more closely meet the needs of its customers. Portakabin used market research, technological developments and feedback from customers to produce a product development strategy. Through product development Portakabin aims to meet the changing needs of its customers and increase the total spend per customer. Through offering more products and services it hopes to increase profits.
Portakabin provides its customers with modular buildings. These are buildings which are manufactured in one place and then transported to another to provide unique solutions to the accommodation needs of its customers. Examples include additional buildings for schools and hospitals. To closely meet the needs of its customers Portakabin hires or sells a range of products that are not simply buildings. They provide a variety of benefits beyond the basic accommodation needs. For example, Portakabin now supplies air conditioning units for the buildings that they construct. It provides products and services that complement the buildings and add value for each customer in order to serve their total product effectively.