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Customer definition and representation in market-driven product development

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Jukka Majava, Jouko Nuottila, Harri Haapasalo, Kris LawKris Law
Purpose: Customers are typically considered the most important external stakeholders for companies. This study explores how customers are defined by product management and development managers in market-driven development. In addition, customer representation during development is studied. Design/methodology/approach: The literature review of the study focuses on customer definition and involvement in product development context, while the empirical part explores industry practices at managerial level through case projects in selected organisations. Findings: Company management and strategy outline customer definition. Product management collaborates with various stakeholders including marketing, sales, management, direct customers, and end-users in customer definition. Product management was found to be the most important customer representative for product development. However, other information sources are also utilised. Research limitations/implications: The case projects may not be able to offer a generalised picture of the topic. Future work should extend the study to cover more industry sectors and companies at various tiers and regions. Practical implications: Company management and strategy must provide proper guidance for customer definition, and management must ensure that product management teams are appropriately resourced and competent. Systematic way of working and good collaboration among product management, product development, and other internal stakeholders is needed. While focus on selected customers is important, other customers in the value chain must also be considered. Product management and development professionals should also have some direct contact with external customers to ensure proper customer understanding and to tackle problems related to conflicting internal stakeholder views. Originality/value: Past literature emphasises customer orientation, however, it has not adequately addressed how customers are defined and who represents the customers in market-driven context. The study findings offer a good reference for companies to improve product development focus.

History

Pagination

205-221

Location

Phuket, Thailand

Start date

2013-05-29

End date

2013-05-31

Language

eng

Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2013, ToKnowPress

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Managemen: Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness

Event

Technology Innovation and Industrial Management. Conference (2013 : Phuket, Thailand)

Publisher

ToKnowPress

Place of publication

[Phuket, Thailand]

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