Redefining customer value in lean product development design projects
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology. 2013, 11 (1), 71-89. 10.1108/17260531311309143
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to suggest a redefinition of the functional product value calculation in lean product development (LPD). The proposed method integrates emotional customer value into the traditional model, which is based on minimizing operating costs and reducing time‐to‐market. Design/methodology/approach – Perceptions of customer value among employees at a Norwegian boat manufacturer, customers, and competitors are investigated through a case study. Results are compared with principles for promoting value and minimizing waste in LPD. Findings – Findings from the case study suggest that a less‐than‐perfect match between customer needs and product offerings sometimes improves customer satisfaction. Furthermore, how customers perceive product value depends on experience that may be at variance with current needs. It is also suggested that deep understanding of customer‐defined value does not imply an ability to satisfy that value. Research limitations/implications – Understanding the position of meaning‐driven and technology‐driven innovation in different types of industries represents a challenge for further research, as does the issue of whether these two are the only dimensions driving a sustainable innovation strategy. Actionable knowledge on how emotional value can be maximized is also needed. Originality/value – Maximizing customer value is a core principle in LPD, but the value definitions used tend to be based on logical reasoning rather than real‐life observations. This article presents empirical insights concerning different stakeholders' perceptions of customer value, and the resulting implications for the present lean framework.