Title: Role of customers in the development of innovative process and product

Authors: S.N. Dwivedi, J.P. Sharma

Addresses: Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA. Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 38677, USA

Abstract: Actual users of a product are known as the main customers. These are either individuals or groups, or a group in the organisations. In between the product manufacturing stage and the actual end users of the product, there exists a long chain of customers and clients. In the changing global economy, rapid technological growth has brought general awakening among customers. They form the core group in the market. Their perceptions control market dynamics. In the next millennium, the entire chain of customer and client relationships will contribute the only basis for the need and development of new products and processes. In servicing the existing market, large numbers of manufacturers are creating low cost similar products with value-added additional features to attract these customers. A wide range of products from construction to household goods, from automobiles to fashion, from food to entertainment, with several choices and options, are giving tough competition to the manufacturing business. This in turn pressures industries to meet the challenge to make products at the least possible cost, which also includes an inherent trend toward higher technology, as well as to aesthetics, quality, safety, reliability and versatility. More and more industries are now using new processes and design morphology to make base products that are of modular design, with add-on options for additional functions, and that are lightweight and low cost to match individual needs and financial constraints. In addition to this, the organisation must become agile and flexible to provide the best possible services to customers with rapid response and delivery in order to meet or beat competition. This article defines the roles of customers and clients in today|s market chain, and explains their contributions to innovative design and process development.

Keywords: product design; product development; customers; clients; modular design; market dynamics; process design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2002.000278

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2002 Vol.15 No.1/2/3, pp.24-36

Available online: 15 Jul 2003 *

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