Product development, innovation and the product life cycle
A Portakabin case study

Page 1: Introduction

Portakabin 18 Image 1Profitable and innovative commercial businesses are ones which provide customers with exactly what they need and want. Portakabin is an example of such a business. Portakabin has been the UK’s market leading modular building innovator for more than 50 years, operating in 6 countries and employing more than 1,300 people. The marketing of Portakabin is central to its past, present and future success.

Portakabin is a business to business (B2B) organisation. Its customers are other businesses. This makes its approach to marketing different to more consumer-focused organisations. Portakabin operates both in the secondary and tertiary sector, manufacturing and hiring a range of modular buildings. These vary from one-off portable buildings for doctor’s surgeries to vast modular schools, hospitals and office complexes. Its buildings are made off-site, transported and constructed on site.

Portakabin began supplying the first portable PK16 building in 1961. At the time this was a unique product and the business has built its success by continued innovation. One of its major extension strategies involved hiring out its buildings locally as an interim arrangement for businesses. It currently has more than 90 Visitor and Hire Centres.

Recently Portakabin launched its latest product, the Yorkon Building System (YBS). This new product is at the cutting edge of modular building technology. Its design is the culmination of extensive planning involving market research, research and development.

Portakabin Group

Yorkon is a brand that belongs to the Portakabin Group, dating back to 1980. Any large, permanent building that needs to be designed and then built is sold under the Yorkon brand.

‘For a company whose history is based on innovation and design quality, the launch of a major new product is something to get excited about. It is particularly important when that product takes the manufacture of steel-framed buildings into a new era of flexibility, aesthetics and speed of build. The Yorkon Building System is designed to give you all the benefits of traditional build, such as the ability to fit any footprint and external walls without sections or columns and all of this is still delivered up to 50% faster than traditional buildings.’

The case study focuses on the processes involved in creating the Yorkon Building System and the role of marketing in launching the new product.

Portakabin | Product development, innovation and the product life cycle

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