Wheelwright, Steven. C. Revolutionizing Product Development
New York: 1992. ISBN 0029055156
Pages 4 and 5
Rigorous international competition, the explosion of market segments and niches, and accelerating technological change have created a set of competitive imperatives for the development of new products and processes in industries as diverse as medical instruments and automobiles, textiles, and high-end disk drives. Exhibit 1-1 identifies three of these imperatives -- speed, efficiency, and quality – and suggest some of their implications. To succeed, firms must be responsive to changing customer demands and the moves of their competitors.
This means that they must be fast. The ability to identify opportunities, mount the requisite development effort, and bring to market new products and processes quickly is critical to effective competition.
But firms also must bring new products and processes to market efficiently. Because the number of new products and new process technologies has increased while model lives and life cycles have shrunk, firms must mount more development projects than has traditionally been the case utilizing substantially fewer resources per project. In the U.S. automobile market, for example, the growth of models and market segments over the last twenty-five years has meant that an auto firm must mount close to four times as many development projects simply to maintain its market share position. But smaller volumes per model and shorter design lives mean resource requirements must drop dramatically. Effective competition requires highly efficient engineering, design, and development activities.
Being fast and efficient is essential but not enough. The products and processes that a firm introduces must also meet demands in the market for value, reliability, and distinctive performance. Demanding customers and capable competitors mean that the ante keeps going up –requirements of performance, reliability, ease of use, and total value increase with each product introduction. When competition is intense firms must attract and satisfy customers in a very crowded market. More and more this means offering a product that is distinctive; that not only satisfies, but also surprises and delights a customer. Moreover, attention to the total product experience and thus to total product quality is critical.