Companies have pressures to supply new products with increasing speed to the market. In addition, the nature of products is changing in the traditional manufacturing industry where services and other intangible elements are responsible for a growing part of the profit.
Increasingly, typical deliverables are mixtures of tangible and intangible elements, also referred to as solutions. Companies provide an increasing number of different solution variants to their customers, resulting in challenges in managing their product portfolios.
In the modern solution business, quick actions and decisions are often required based on customers’ requests. There are pressures to come up with modified offerings to meet customer needs. Required modifications typically entail functionalities or changes that are not possible within the existing product portfolio, even though, ideally, the potential modifications would be based on this portfolio.
Is it sensible to allow a certain degree of flexibility in a product portfolio to enable customer variations? Either way, there must always be a strong enough business case to justify any changes.
This type of rapid productisation, reacting to customers’ needs outside of the existing product portfolio, sets requirements for product data management, product structure, requirements engineering, product development processes, and information flow between sales, product development and so on. There is a need to define boundary conditions on whether to provide a customer with the modified offering or not, what types of analyses are required, and which stakeholders are involved in making such go/no-go decisions. There may also be other aspects to consider when a company aims to react to customers’ unexpected requirements. It is vital to understand what type of business decisions are required to support these types of scenarios.
This special issue focuses on exploring how companies should react to cases of unexpected customer requests; what kind of processes, roles and responsibilities are required; and how this influences product data and lifecycle management and the cooperation of sales and product development. A product can be a physical product, a service, or can contain both elements.
Submitted papers should contain a significant empirical contribution and enable communication between academics and industrial actors. Original research and development papers, review papers and case studies are welcome. The relevance to engineering/business development must be explicit.
Suitable topics include but are not limited to the following:
- Customers' requirements during sales
- Rapid productisation
- Product portfolio vs. customers' requirements
- Product creation
- Market pull
- Business case analysis
- Product data management, product lifecycle management (PLM/PDM)
- Ability to react to customers' product requirements
- Product data and product structure
- Minimum requirements for product data
- Decision making criteria and business cases
- Product management and portfolio management
- Recognising opportunities to productise rapidly
- Configurability and modular product structure
- Feasibility, delivery capability
Submission deadline: 21 May, 2012