New Product Process


New products actually build up the way rivers do. Great rivers are systems with tributaries that have tributaries. Goods that appear complex are just collections of metal shapes, packaging material, fluids, prices, and so on. A good anology is the production of automobiles, with a main assembly line supported by scores of subsidiary assembly lines scattered around the world, each of which makes a part that goes into another part that ultimately goes into a car in that final assembly line.

 If you can imagine the quality control people in auto parts plants evaluating each part before releasing it to the next step, you have the idea of a new product evaluation system. The new product appears first as an idea, a concept in words or pictures, and we evaluate that first. As workers turn the concept into a formed process of metal, or software, or a new factory site preparation service, that good or service is then evaluated. When a market planner puts together a marketing plan, its parts are evaluated separately (just as minor car parts are) and then evaluated again in total, after it is added to the product.

 The fact that we evaluate the product and its marketing plan as separate and divisible pieces is what lets us telescope the development process into shorter periods of time. There was an era when we went through a new product’s development step by step, nothing “ahead of its time.” But today we may be working on a package before we actually have finished product, we may be filming part of a commercial before the trademark has been approved and finalized.

 This sometimes causes some backtracking, but the cost of that is less than the costs of a delayed introduction. It does require, however, that we have thought through carefully the item’s overall development needs—and, which of those needs are crucial, and which not crucial. Any evaluation system must cover the crucial ones.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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Relationship-based Management


The four steps to moving your organization closer to a relationship based management program are:

  1. Segmentation
  2. Analyzing current behavior
  3. Developing strategy to achieve target behaviors
  4. Behavior maintenance.

By behavior I mean the buying or other behaviors of a customer, in relationship to the organization and its products and services.

In beginning the process it is probably worth taking time to do an audit of all the systems, information, research, marketing knowledge, attractiveness, historical results from promotions and any other additional sources of data that may exist in your organization.

Customer relationship management requires a holistic approach so that the infortmation that is held about customers across the organization is drawn together in one central source or at least cross-accessed so that it can be compiled and collated. For example: information is probably held at an accounting level about customer transactions and appended to that may be a payment record. A different computer system may hold results of marketing activity for different customers or different customer groups. Another database may actually hold information on customer service queries or enquiries – times they may have phoned or contacted you for some question or other. This information needs to be carefully scoped and drawn together.

This analysis is the first part of segmentation by behavior and value. The second stage is to begin an initial segmentation of a customer base. You should include the value, potential value and historical behavior of your customer. This should then be compared with the existing buying patterns and behavior and then contrasted, thirdly, with the future, or target behavior, of an ideal or loyal customer.

Every customer is in some way unique. However, many customers are unique in similar ways. There are practical steps that can be taken to segment customers by value, pattern, and buying criteria.

The next stage is to develop a strategy – a plan or a series of plans to attribute the target behavior to each segment or individual – and then to begin to allocate a budget for each of those behaviors. For example, if you had a mail order business marketing collectible antique replicas, you would identify the different customer segments in terms of their buying behaviors and in terms of how much they had spent in the past; the frequency, the types of products that they had been interested in and the mechanisms that they had responded to – whether that’s direct mail or off the page advertising, the internet etc. if you were then trying to increase the frequency of spend or the transaction value of the spend, this would become a target behavior that you would focus on.

The next stage is to look at the actual technology or systems that will allow you to achieve better relationship management with your customers. This may require some redesign or re-implementation of hardware and software to allow access to the information at a single point.

The final stage is management in the evolution of the process. There is always a matter of trial and error and trial and success. Before implementing a wide scale program it is essential that it is carefully tested on a small part of each segment of the customer base before being rolled out. Indeed by using customer relationship management methods in segmenting customers and customer groups more accurately, test marketing and test promotions can actually be far more accurately guaged and measured.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Use Project Management


Management is usually viewed as continuous process that lasts without a break for the whole of your organization’s life. But some jobs are clearly projects; they do a specific job, have a distinct beginning and end and a fixed duration. When the job is done, the project is finished.

 

People have developed special approaches to project management. A project manager often has overall control and can have very wide-ranging responsibilities. The project team does not follow the usual ‘line of authority,’ but is seconded from line functions. This gives a matrix structure where people have divided responsibilities. The control of projects is made easier by dividing them into phases running from conceptual design through to termination. There are special methods for planning projects.

 

Managers have increasingly realized that they can use these methods in their everyday work. You probably find that a lot of your work is not continuous, but consists of a series of projects. Consultants work for different clients, software houses work on different packages, marketing departments run a series of promotions.

 

Project management can bring a lot of advantages to your work. It gives the expected times for some key activities, and the computer automatically prints schedules for activities and all resources. More generally, project teams have the benefits of:

  • Using management methods that recognize the nature of projects;
  • Solving problems quickly, as the right people are assembled to concentrate on a solution.
  • Spreading expertise around the organization, as team members move on to new projects and share their experiences;
  • Using resources efficiently, as they are released to other projects when not needed;
  • Tightly controlling operations, with constant feedback on progress.

 This does not mean, of course, that project management is better than continuous management. But project management does give an additional set of management tools that you might find useful.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Just about Technology Transfer


The type of technology transfer that takes place depends on which level of its value stock the firm is using to enter the new market. If the firm is exporting products as they are, then the knowledge that underpins these products is encoded in them. For example, If a German firm is exporting cars to China, knowledge of the car’s engines, transmission, electronic fuel injection, and cooling system, and the linkages between them, is already embedded in the car. So is knowledge of the manufacturing processes that were used to build the car. In either case, the technology transfer is said to be product embodies since the physical product itself is being transferred.

 

If a firm uses core products to enter the market, the results of the technology transfer are the same as those for exporting fully assembled products if all the firm does is sell the core components to the emerging economy. If it uses the core components to build products for the foreign market, the firm must also transfer the knowledge of how to link the components and manufacture the end product. In the automobile example, the German firm not only exports the drive trains for cars, it also transfers the manufacturing knowledge that is needed to produce the cars locally. The manufacturing knowledge is said to be process and people embodied. The process being transferred is in the form of equipment, flowcharts, blueprints, microcodes, software, routines, and the knowledge embedded in employees. It is more tacit than product-embodied knowledge. The transfer of such knowledge requires personal interaction between the transmitter and the receiver and relatively more absorptive and delivery capacities than the transfer of the more explicit product-embodies knowledge.

 

If the firm decides to transfer capabilities and the knowledge that underlines them, then the knowledge is a lot more people and process embodied than product embodies. It also has a much larger tacit component to it than the other forms of transfer. This suggests that most of the measures for improving the effectiveness of technology transfer apply. For example, prior to the transfer, employees of the receiver nation can be sent to the transmitter country to study at universities, or to work at research centers or related industries to better prepare for receiving the technology. Training sessions in which members from both nations explore their cultures can help diffuse some of the tensions that occur. The transfer can take the form of joint ventures or acquisitions. During the transfer, continued workshops in the challenges of cultural differences can help keep reducing the impedance mismatch between the two entities.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transformserorganizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir

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