Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-21-0012
2002-10-21

Where Customer Product Validation Programs Add Value in the New Product Development Cycle 2002-21-0012

To try and bring together customer needs and product quality within the new product development cycle, Hewlett-Packard’s LaserJet Group has created a program known as Delta. LaserJet Delta is an extension of what is commonly known as a Beta Program but the objectives are changed - the LaserJet Delta program is used to assess product quality, usability, and functionality while manufacturing is beginning production. Beta is commonly done within the product development cycle with the primary purpose to determine what customers like and dislike about the product.
First reactions to a program like LaserJet Delta should be it is not the right thing to do. Pre-release testing should be comprehensive enough to catch the issues that are likely to be found in customer testing, allowing an organization to minimize costs associated with expensive last-minute fixes and product reworks. The reality is, printers operate in wide variety of unstable and unpredictable environments and it would be impossible to completely test these products in a competitive time frame and at a competitive cost.
The program results shed significant light on why LaserJet Delta is such a compelling program. When program objectives and site selection are done correctly, LaserJet Delta identifies and isolates customer issues quickly, allowing the design teams time to implement fixes before significant volumes of product have entered the marketplace. Early resolution of issues gives the customer support organization time to document and train for responsiveness required on any known issues, thus reducing warranty costs. LaserJet Delta also provides a conduit from design team members to real users that otherwise does not exist. This conduit supplies actionable feedback to the design teams so that eventually the in-house test and evaluation is reshaped to be more comprehensive without being a cost burden. The feedback carries more significance because it is coming straight from the customer.

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