CUSTOMER VALUE IS NOT A NUMBER – INVESTIGATING THE VALUE CONCEPT IN LEAN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
DS 68-10: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 10: Design Methods and Tools pt. 2, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Dong, A.
Author: Gudem, Martin; Steinert, Martin; Welo, Torgeir; Leifer, Larry J.
Section: Design Methods and Tools Part 2
Lean Product Development (LPD) is an operational philosophy aimed at maximizing customer value while minimizing non-value-added-activities, known as waste. Originating from manufacturing, the value-concept in Lean is still strongly tied to product features despite evidence that perceived value concerns more than just the physical product. This paper presents different views on customer value, as provided by the employees at a Norwegian boat manufacturer, customers, and the competition. Our research suggests that a less-than-perfect match between customer needs and product offerings may prove beneficial. Furthermore, how customers perceive product value depends on previous experience. It is also suggested that deep understanding of customer-defined value does not imply an ability to satisfy that value. A purchasing decision often relies on emotional and utilitarian value, and product developers must target both. Yet, the value-concepts used in LPD tend to revolve around utilitarian value alone. An extension of LPD towards Lean Innovation (LI) is suggested.