For manufacturers it is often tempting to think in terms of satisfying our immediate customers’ needs – after all they are the ones paying the bills. But what if we considered the needs of our customer’s customers?
This is precisely what Boeing did in the run up to the release of their new Dreamliner aircraft. Widely recognised for its incredible efficiencies and revolutionary manufacturing process, the Dreamliner is also the result of extensive market research undertaken by the plane builder.
Traditionally, aircraft manufacturers build the shell of the plane and tweak the cabin innards to suit their customers, the airline. In this scenario, the needs of the passenger tend to be considered last – something Boeing regarded as fundamentally wrong. In 2000, at the start of the Dreamliner design process, Boeing instituted their Passenger Experience Research Center (PERC). This analysed the psychological and emotional responses of passengers to air travel. The research took the form of various focus groups as well as a look into the medical effects of flying.
Using the data gathered through PERC, Boeing managed to address a number of the passengers’ wants through clever design. The Dreamliner is intended to help passengers fall in love with flying again by helping them reconnect with their earliest positive emotions. The high tech carbon composite fuselage also allows for greater control of the internal cabin environment recreating atmospheric conditions closer to Earth and thereby reducing many of the negative health effects associated with long haul flights such as headaches, itchy eyes and dry noses.
By considering the needs of their customers’ customers, Boeing have created an aircraft which passengers actually want to fly in. The application of the results of extensive customer research has therefore made the Dreamliner easier to sell to airlines too.
All of this raises the question, how could your business improve by considering the needs of customers further down the supply chain?
Posted on January 18, 2012 in Supply Chain Management by Tagged as