Making Strategic Product and Business Decisions

Situation:

A struggling engineering products company was engaged in contracted small electro-mechanical manufacturing for the automotive and printer industries, and had ventured into the home and facility automation arenas. During the company’s first ten years of operation, its customers calculated much of the business risk and opportunity for each project. With the new ventures into production for itself and new markets the company was facing challenges in evaluating product profitability and viability. Additionally, this European-based company had purchased a small, but failing, firm in the U.S. to gain access to this market.

The company wanted to deliver technically unique products that the market would appreciate, form a technical platform for cross-market product development, and remain viable in OEM-based contract development projects.

Action:

The company worked with Bates Strategy Group to analyze its current technologies, including the extendibility and life cycle of its core technology. Bates also created a market-by-market roadmap for this customer that included an analysis of how its technology related to customers, partners, and competitors.

Bates Strategy Group also introduced a cross-functional team approach to product development that included functional role and responsibility development, as well as documentation template development. This product training included taking one product through the entire product life cycle process – from infancy to market introduction.

The entire technology offerings and product suites were then reviewed with the cross- functional team. They researched market, partner, and competitive information, which resulted in a preliminary status documentation and roadmap. This team then reviewed the roadmap with key customers and market analysts, which resulted in several remapping drafts and consensus building across functions and global markets.

Working with Bates Strategy Group, the team developed a completely revamped product development process, including roles and responsibilities.

Results:

This client’s situation was significantly turned around – from a failing company to one enjoying considerable growth. In the first year following its engagement with Bates the company delivered six products to the market and a new one each month in the second year, including extensions of core products. The company was also able to leverage its new core technology for OEM product development and delivery in the second year, which included three new custom products.