This is the third of a series of posts to share with you six important lessons we’ve learned through our experiences working with numerous commercial clients in a variety of situations. On the path to your success in developing and commercializing technologies, they will help you avoid common pitfalls, unwarranted assumptions, and other sources of technical and commercial bias that could add up to business failures.
This lesson: Think of your technology as a “functionality”
Technology needs to be useful – it needs to “function” in ways that are useful to prospective customers. Chances are your technology has multiple potential end use applications that you haven’t even thought of yet.
Lesson Three Case Study:
Client: Custom manufacturer and converter of polymers and fabrics with patented silicone-coated fabric technology. This proprietary technology enabled a useful finished product: surgical drapes that could withstand multiple sterilization cycles.
• Manufacturing line for the novel surgical drape products was running at much less than capacity.
• Client wanted to fill the idle capacity without investing new capital.
• The obvious line extension would be other types of “reusables” sold to the medical products industry, but that industry was already saturated with a host of reusables as well as disposables, available at very low cost.
Technology Assessment Need: Do any other high-value end-use applications exist for products our client could make using its proprietary technology and its existing manufacturing capabilities?
• Identify the functions of the client’s product as viewed by its customers
• For each of the product’s useful functions, assess quantitatively its “value-in-use” to the customer
• Identify other addressable market segments/customers with similar functional requirements and value-in-use needs and for which our client’s product could be immediately useful and cost-competitive.
Outcome: Tapping relevant industry experts, we discovered that:
• It’s common practice in the nuclear power industry to contract out for services related to maintenance worker uniforms.
• In the textile rental segment of the nuclear services market, disposable fabrics are not used
• Maintenance worker uniforms with increased service life and/or greater feeling of comfort and durability have a competitive edge.
By viewing our client’s technology in terms of its functionality, we identified a potential new market segment and gave sharp focus to our client’s subsequent end-use applications development plans.
It’s not necessarily easy to find such out-of-the-box solutions. In this case, we brought together a range of end-use industry experts to bring fresh input to generating potential new applications for our client’s technology and product.
…Are you looking for new customers for your existing technologies and products?
…Do you have excess manufacturing capacity you’d like to put to use?
…Or are you launching a new product and need to understand which end-use applications are the most promising?
We’re ready and able to help you make your decisions with confidence. Contact us at http://www.prakteka.com/contact-us/
or via direct email at email@example.com