An Improved Product Design
Looking for a better way to do product design, 3M Corporation's Business
Development Manager tried Business Insight.
Following the development cycle he
said, "Business Insight is exactly what I have been looking for to impose a
format on our new product planning process."
When defining a new product an enterprise must consider many factors, including
what the market wants and the characteristics of that market, the physical and
technical characteristics of the product, whether the development organization can
create the product and whether the manufacturing organization can produce the
Having determined that the enterprise can design and manufacture a product the
market will purchase, then consideration must be given to competition, government
regulations, distribution channels, marketing & sales and logistics.
A user, a Business Development Manager of 3M Corp, was defining a new product
and realized that Business Insight addressed all of these factors. So, in the very
early stages of product definition, he answered as many Business Insight questions
as he could, which wasn't very many. The resulting analysis was limited, but the
process of answering the questions forced him to consider many critical factors
he might have otherwise overlooked.
As he gained more information about the product potential he made another pass
at answering the questions. This time, Business Insight's analysis of strengths
and weaknesses was more beneficial.
First, it pointed out that there were few barriers to entry for
competition. This stimulated him to pursue the potential for patents, for
exclusive distribution relationships and other methods of establishing proprietary
Second, it showed that the product was quite complex and would require
extensive training for sales and support personnel as well as the customer. This
generated a search for ways to simplify the product.
Later, with more information and an assumption that the sales strategy would
be one of 'differentiation', a third pass at answering the questions was made. To
the user's surprise, Business Insight indicated that a differentiation strategy
had a low potential for success and that he should pursue a cost leadership
strategy. This caused research on ways to improve the differentiation potential
as well as ways to reduce production costs if the differentiation approach proved
The analysis also indicated that even with a simplified product a good
demonstration would be important. The process of creating the demonstration not
only helped the sales process it also made the use of the product simpler for the