Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Could You Get to Market 40% Faster?

This week’s guest blog is from Scott Harmon, Z Corp’s VP of Business Development.

Time to market has long been one of the key differentiators between successful product development efforts and unsuccessful ones. The term ‘First Mover Advantage,’ refers to the additional profits enjoyed by the company that gets to market first. In the product design world, the first mover gets more shelf space, wider distribution, more PR, etc. All that adds up to more customers and more profit.

The importance of the First Mover Advantage is one of the reasons it so interesting to listen to the recent webcast with Lund International. Based in Lawrenceville, Ga., USA, Lund makes and sells durable, functional aftermarket accessories such as window vents, pickup cargo covers, tool boxes and premium floor protection. Lund accessories fit every type of vehicle – both cars and trucks – and every type of driver.

They supply parts to automotive OEM’s and to distributors and retailers in the automotive market. As you probably know, the automotive industry is one of the most intense, design-centric industries on the planet. (It has also been around for a while, as I was recently reminded during a Father’s Day trip to the Collings Foundation.)

So if you’re in a very competitive industry, with years and years of best practice established, how on earth could you improve product development to get a 40% improvement in time to market?

Well, for Lund International, as for almost all automotive suppliers, capturing the ‘as built environment’ is the first step in the design process. Automotive components inevitably rely on an accurate understanding of the rest of the system. The faster and more accurately you understand the as built environment, the faster you will get to market.

Brent Rose and Jonathan Shroyer were kind enough to share their experiences using the ZScanner to quickly and accurately capture the as built environment. You should listen to their webcast. They talk about their existing processes, assessment of the product vs. other technologies, and how they achieved substantial savings in time and money using this technology with fewer design iterations. It’s really an excellent webcast put on by a couple of pros.

It just goes to show, even in a mature industry, opportunities for substantial improvement exist. Have you thought about how your company could get to market 40% faster than they do today?

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