Will it work out of the box?

I was recently asked to comment on how consumers in the car care industry have voiced concerns over initial product quality and performance. Below are my answers to two seemingly HUGE questions and I would be interested to hear what others would have to say about it.

Q: Manufacturers are making performance claims that are not being met once installed according to car care operators. What can industry groups do to improve the initial product quality of their products?

A: Manufacturers cannot be pressured into delivering products before they can be properly tested. This is a burden that should be shared both by management and sales reps eager for a sale. It is up to the manufacturer to manage the expectations of their customers if they are purchasing a pre-released product. We are in an industry of constant change in which there are demands for new innovations and updated products. These demands for innovative new products typically contributes to this pressure to release a product prematurely.

Question 2: With these concerns over products working out of the box (or barrel), what steps or recommendations can be taken for individual manufacturers to improve initial product quality, reliability, and in-service support?

A: Manufacturers will have to accept that releasing a product prematurely will require a greater degree of service support and customer education after the sale has been made. New investors and care care operators must be aware that in any product they buy that in exchange for the latest in innovations a certain degree of fine tuning or calibration will be required. Wash operators from around the world will agree that every car wash business does things a bit differently. This trend has pushed the industry into growing it’s reliance on new technologies to create custom applications, and location specific solutions to meet the needs of numerous business models . The car care industry is seeing an end to long product life cycles in favor of products that can scale to the needs of individual businesses. With these shorter product life cycles it is up to the manufacturers to ensure that support structures are in place assist the customer in fine tuning their applications.
Posted on January 9, 2008 and filed under Marketing.