You know the age-old adage, “the customer is always right”? Well that’s how we feel at Knauf when we bring new and innovative products to the market.
Our mentality is very much one of problem solving for our customers. We aim to continually produce new and exciting products and systems for our customers. Knauf is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lightweight building products and systems, and it’s through innovation and product development that we have obtained this standing.
Developing new ideas is one of the highlights of the job and for us it’s important not to work in silos. This is where our customers become the most important aspect of product development, remember, they are always right.
The vision at Knauf is to be the construction industry’s leader in innovation and that is at the top of the Knauf agenda as a business.
As Portfolio Manager it has been my role in the last 15 months to set processes in place to stimulate innovation from within the company. So for the last 15 months we have been working on these processes to deliver high quality products to the market.
The key has been implementing practices acquired from other industries and applying them to construction. Historically, the construction industry has moved a lot slower than other industries, especially when compared to the fast-paced world of consumer electronics which I worked in for 12 years. In an effort to resolve this we have taken on a consumer mentality with our product development because we can see that the industry is full of potential opportunities.
It’s important that new product ideas are driven by customer needs and not simply production lead where products are created and pushed out into the market. Our aim is to take customer insights and develop new products that solve problems for our customers.
A recent anthropology project that we ran saw an independent research team visit live sites to observe our products in practice. From this we were able to debunk some of the myths surrounding our products and installation practices.
As a direct result, we are currently working alongside key stakeholders in the housebuilding sector on a project that we expect to go live in the later stages of 2017 which promises to deliver significant building site efficiency benefits for installers and produce cost savings by reducing call backs due to snagging. We are also currently business casing further projects for 2018 and beyond.
Our team of Area Sales Managers at Knauf are also well positioned to pick up on potential development opportunities and many of our recent innovations have been picked up in the field.
All ideas are given the opportunity to come to fruition by way of the Knauf Innovation Funnel, a five-stage process whereby ideas are analysed for their strengths, weaknesses and market potential. We understand that not every new product idea will be a success and so expect that at each stage we will proceed with around 50% of them. For us it is more important that what we are delivering to customers is quality over quantity.
The Innovation Funnel has been directly responsible for the latest release of new products in 2017 including Knauf ProRoll, Knauf Sliding Door Kit and our AQUAPANEL ® Exterior and AQUAPANEL ® Interior Ceiling Systems. [links included above to product releases online]
But we are not done yet. There are several new products making their way through our process ready for launch in July. Keep your eyes peeled for our next tranche of new and exciting product launches.