Kano Methods Uncover the Devilish Details of Customer Satisfaction


The Kano customer satisfaction model provides a disciplined process for using customer data to uncover hidden needs and the key features that trigger purchase decisions.  In the webinar posted below, expert Wayne Mackey walks us through the Kano methodology, provides some examples of how it is best employed and also talks about a new collaborative program to help people get the most out of what these important tools can offer.

 

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The Kano Cupholder Conundrum: How well do you know which features actually sell your product?


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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is how the old saying goes that illustrates the vast diversity of the human concept of value.  What is essential to some is meaningless to others, which represents the most perplexing challenge of product definition and portfolio management.  Even if you could put every feature possible into a product, research has shown over and over again that only a critical few will affect the customer’s purchase decision.

The automobile cupholder is the perfect example of a product feature that was considered an afterthought by most, but which actually held tremendous power over the consumer, sometimes holding the important distinction of “dealbreaker” if missing or poorly executed.  The challenge for product developers is to find a systematic way to focus scarce innovation resources on these powerful features and minimize time wasted on insignificant others.

The “Kano” customer satisfaction model, named after it’s creator, Noriaki Kano, was created to help product developers analyze their product around how customers view important features.  At it’s basic level, the premise is that most features fall under one of three categories:

  1. “Must Have” features are basic necessities and requirements of a product.  For example, tires are a “must have” feature of a car.
  2. “One-Dimensional” features are those with variable performance where value and price can increase when the performance increases.  In a car, one could consider engine horsepower to be this type of feature.
  3. “Attractive” features are those which can greatly delight and even “excite” the customer.  This is where you can get the most surprises, such as a simple and low-cost feature like cupholders or when heated seats were first introduced to cold climate drivers.

By doing a formal Kano exercise, including customer surveying and data plotting/mapping, one can quickly identify areas to focus on which will affect the bottom line and help teams make better decisions on critical design tradeoffs and investments.

If you’d like to learn more about the Kano model and how to make it work for you, Management Roundtable is offering a free webinar on June 10, 2015, “Kano Innovation Collaborative: Finding True Differentiators – Making More Profitable Products.”  Follow the link provided for more information and to register for this session.

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How do Agile Software Development Practices Translate to Hardware Development?


In this short video segment, Andrew McCaskey of SDRNews speaks with TechZecs‘ Scott Elliott on the latest successful efforts to apply best practices in agile software development to physical product development environments.  Scott answers such questions as how scrum and other techniques are adapted and applied outside of the software realm and on hardware components such as ASICS design.  You’ll also hear how advancements in prototyping have accelerated R&D cycles, a key factor in achieving lean product development.

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10 Most Critical Dimensions for Successful Product Innovation


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Managing new product development and innovation is a road with many forking paths and few helpful signposts (just like driving in downtown Boston!).

NPD expert, author and executive advisor, Wayne Mackey, has identified what he believes are the 10 most critical dimensions facing product development leaders.  Each builds upon the other and encompasses the complete value stream of the development process from the highly strategic to the minutest of detail.

Viewed as a whole, the challenges these dimensions present can seem daunting and unmanageable, but according to Wayne, once broken down into constituent parts, each area can be addressed with specific tools that can quickly use data to identify root causes and guide you to an immediate course correction.  For example, properly staffing project teams with adequate resources can be simplified and improved using a simple spreadsheet tool known as a “skills matrix.”  Each dimension has similar tools and methods for deconstructing a problem without wasting a lot of time.

The 10 critical dimensions of product development innovation are:

  1. Cycles of learning – Information flow and risk retirement rates
  2. Resource management – Innovation skills assessment, staff ratios and roles & responsibilities
  3. Organic versus outside growth – Open innovation and strategic supplier /partners
  4. Portfolio investment balance – Translation of the voice of the NEXT customer
  5. Strategy – Innovation, business and development roadmaps and SWOTs
  6. Project management – Schedule and cost predictability, stochastic project planning and incubator projects
  7. Intellectual Property – Protection and management in today’s open environment; the disruptive emergence of 3D printing
  8. Business cases – Financials and how to normalize near-, mid-, and long-horizon opportunities
  9. Value streams – Waste identification and mitigation
  10. Automated data and management information systems

Wayne Mackey will be holding a special executive session to go in-depth on these important decision making areas and showing how to apply a comprehensive suite of tools that product development leaders can use to make data-driven decisions that team members yearn for and the business’ bottom line requires.   The one-day, intensive “Innovation Leaders’ Reboot Camp” will be held July 15, 2014 in Chicago, visit the Reboot Camp’s website for more information and to register online.

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Picking Partners of Choice from Your Supply Chain


outsourcing-recruitingA long time ago I learned that often the best suppliers aren’t the ones that can deliver on their end of the contract but the ones that prevent you from making your own mistakes.  For example, a good component supplier is one that builds what you order exactly to spec and delivers on time.  A GREAT supplier is one that notices you specified the incorrect material and checks with you to make sure, even at the expense of a delay, saving you a lot of money and time.  The next generation of great suppliers are the ones that you choose to participate early in the design and innovation of the product, but identifying those with partnership potential can be a tricky process.

Dr. Robert Handfield, Director of the Supply Chain Research Cooperative at North Carolina State University, has spent his career researching how companies integrate suppliers into new product development, the deliberation that goes into the insource/outsource decision, and the methods used to identify potential supplier partners.

Dr. Handfield will be discussing his research and recommendations for companies during an upcoming free webinar, “Insourcing & Outsourcing Design & Development – Creating Supplier-Led Innovation” on Thursday, March 19, 2014 at 1-2pm ET.

Information will be presented from the National Science Foundation’s three-year study on “Supplier Integration in New Product Development” and subsequent book published by ASQC, which included companies from a wide variety of industries. Despite the differences in product types, a number of common themes were found in how companies decide to insource or outsource an item, as well as the processes used to identify and source design and development of new products.

This webinar will discuss some of the key findings of this research, and establish a framework for supplier-led innovation, including:

  • What roles can suppliers play in innovation?
  • What are the benefits and risks of supplier involvement in new product development?
  • What are the key challenges that exist in deploying this approach in organizations?
  • What are the characteristics of suppliers that identify them as capable of leading innovation and new product development?

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Product developers to gather at San Francisco Tech Shop to chart the impact of 3D Printing




3D printing is absolutely everywhere right now.
I’ve seen news articles about the wings printed for Victoria Secret lingerie models, 3D printed body parts and pizza and even McDonalds interest in using the printers in their restaurant chain. More and more companies with traditional manufacturing and prototyping methods are increasingly asking themselves: “When is the right time to start paying REAL attention to this?” That time is, apparently, yesterday.

See our previous article with links to additional resources
on 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

robotic-hand-graphicWhile everyone agrees the field is exploding and cemented into our future, the acceleration of technology is quickly outpacing the attention span of in-the-trenches NPD professionals trying to eke out every last bit of efficiency from their outdated development systems. At a workshop conducted by Management Roundtable (MRT) in Chicago last October, representatives from various companies including Kellog’s, Federal Express and Monsanto, among others, shared their perspectives and current challenges with 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing in the real life business environment, things such as:

  • What are the real business opportunities that this technology opens up and what are the negative tradeoffs?
  • How are most companies currently using 3D printers, and what levels of resources do they dedicate to them?
  • How can 3D printing change your relationship with the customer and how can it improve quality and customer satisfaction?
  • How does the technology correlate into expanding into new markets or improving current market share?

MRT will be conducting this workshop again on March 6, 2014 at the San Francisco location of Tech Shop, a chain where members of the public can have access to and experiment with industrial tools and equipment. See the video above for a quick look at 3D printing at Tech Shop. During this workshop, participants will benefit primarily from:

  • Exclusive participation in the additive manufacturing maturity model benchmarking session
  • Hands-on exercises using 3D printing technology to solve a real product development challenge.

Product development professionals of all industries are invited to join in this important conversation with their peers, as they search for real world answers and existing best practices for this emerging field and how to best make the transition and avoid being left far behind.

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Gregg Tong
Management Roundtable, Inc.
http://www.ManagementRoundtable.com

Our new blog: MRTplus

Will the 3D printer become the newest “Machine that Changed the World”?



I’ve been watching 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing for almost 20 years, when we used to refer to it as “rapid prototyping” and “stereolithography.”
  The industry has seemed somewhat dormant over that time, but as it matures and breaks free from the realm of “potential” into the role of “game changer,” it’s Q rating and industry mind-share are at an all time high.

In the short video above from GE, you’ll see a quick rundown on how additive manufacturing works, some samples of the types of wares it can produce, and a few of the top level business benefits for product development and engineering.  Back in the day, people used to hype the technology’s high ceiling of benefits the same way they do today, but now the economics, the sophistication as well as the need for it seems to currently be in a place that is brewing its respective “perfect storm” and putting us on the doorstep of something special.  It’s been a long wait, but the payoff may be worth it.

We are not as far from the Jetson’s future of a replicator in every house as it would seem.

RESOURCES / LINKS TO MORE INFO ON 3D PRINTING / ADDITIVE MFG:

To help you get up to speed with the latest trends, research and industry figures regarding how 3D printing, along with Big Data and the Internet of Things, could create a new industrial revolution, we’ve compiled some links to web resources and a couple recent white papers that will help you round out the big picture of what this could mean to your business and industry.

There are also 2 white papers that can be sent to you via email on request using the form below.  These white papers are:

  • Additive Manufacturing: Turning Mind into Matter (May 2013) by Neil de Beer for Sierra College/CACT.  This report describes the background and current trends of AM, covering a brief historical account of the past year; discussions on new applications for different industry groups; and ending off with a discussion on the emerging DIY maker community and a host of new business models that are challenging conventional ways of product development and distribution
  • Additive Manufacturing: Status and  Opportunities (March 2012) by Justin Scott, Nayanee Gupta, Christopher Weber,  Sherrica Newsome, Terry Wohlers, and Tim Caffrey for the Institute for Defense Analyses.  This paper provides a general overview of the AM industry, it’s opportunities, weaknesses and recommendations for future progress.

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