Developing products and services to meet market demand
A Portakabin case study

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Page 2: Product range and development

Portakabin produces a range of specially tailored products for different markets, including:

  • Portakabin WardSpace - hospital wards
  • Ultima - office buildings
  • Lilliput - nursery schools.

These buildings have attractive layouts, and good aesthetic qualities both internally and externally. They are also highly energy efficient, with positive impacts on the environment.

The marketing strategist Igor Ansoff identified a range of options facing businesses that are seeking to develop a strategy for growth. He constructed a matrix that sets out the options. At any one time there are established existing markets and new developing markets. At the same time there are established existing products and new products. Firms have to decide precisely where to concentrate their efforts.

Ansoff highlighted the importance of product development in situations where an organisation is able to develop new products for an existing market. This involves a company exploiting the strength of its relationship with customers and using its experience and creative ability to develop new products suited to their needs.

Supermarkets are a good example of this. They have gradually moved away from selling only groceries to offering a wide range of other products including household goods, clothes, petrol, computers and even cars!

Portakabin's growth strategy is well illustrated by its Portakabin WardSpace building, that fits neatly within the product development sector. Portakabin has supplied the healthcare industry with modular buildings in small numbers for a number of years. Recently, there has been an increasing demand for new high-quality healthcare buildings to relieve severe shortages of space in many hospitals.

Portakabin has therefore developed a new product: Portakabin WardSpace. It is designed specifically to supply hospitals with much needed high-quality accommodation. The Portakabin WardSpace concept is a direct response to the National Health Service Plan (NHS), which is designed to improve care and service to patients so that they recover more quickly.

In setting out its plans for new building construction, the NHS is demanding a design solution that 'not only satisfies functional requirements but is also economical in both its capital and running costs i.e. cheap to build, use and maintain'.

The Portakabin WardSpace design is modelled on a 32-bed ward, which is the largest practical size for nurses to supervise and observe. Every patient has convenient access to toilets and showers, all of which are single sex. Every patient has a generous area around the bed for visitors and personal belongings, a personal locker, a window view and access to entertainment services.

One main aim of Portakabin WardSpace accommodation is fast delivery to meet the urgent NHS agenda, with handover of the new buildings 24 weeks after the client has approved the plans. The wards are attractively decorated and fitted. The benefits of the design to patients are that there are more single person units to improve patient privacy and confidentiality, and more social interaction in the social areas, which leads to faster recovery.

Portakabin | Developing products and services to meet market demand