People like products that they know will never give them any trouble and, as a result, they are likely to continue to use them until something better comes along. Key to new product development was to gain a better understanding of the potential of various products going through research and development, in order to take those with only the highest potential for success to market..
To meet this challenge we chose a qualitative research method – specifically focus groups. We recruited a good mix of people who fit and specify high-pressure pipes in industrial buildings. We ran four focus groups and in each were able to find out why people choose certain brands of pipes and fittings, and what would motivate them to change. The focus groups were a perfect opportunity to let people get their hands on the new product so that we could obtain vital first impressions. There were some initial fears about the difficulty of integrating the new system with existing pipework and these concerns were good to hear because they could easily be resolved. We found out that the real benefits of the new system were seen to be the ease with which the pipework could be installed (using fewer tools, which meant less had to be carried to the site) and the installation could be both quicker and cheaper.
The new system has gone on to become a leader in high-pressure pipework and a resounding success.
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