Every organization seeks to increase customer satisfaction level. This is the key objective for any organization’s survival and performance excellence especially for companies involved in designing products for their customers. Creating and managing superior customer value requires their involvement to a certain degree to shape what they need their products to look like. Customer involvement bases its roots on the importance conferred by the customer on the product, the use context of the product and the perceived risk levels (Brethauer, 2002). This therefore includes the role that the product will play in competitive strategies for the purchasing companies.
Kinetek Jinghe (KJH) which was founded in 1988 has focused on designing and manufacturing of drive and transmission technology. It has top clients which it considers very crucial to its survival hence conforming to a strategy that involves them in product development.
According to an article written by Power (2013), companies should not jump into designing products with a perception that they fully understands the demands of customers; which constantly change. Close conversations and monitoring of the design by customers is essential in insulating the KJH from product failures and rejections of complete designs by the customers. Evaluating initial prototypes by customers and getting their feedbacks on time even before development process places the company at a better place to deliver satisfaction to customers. It also places confidence in customers that the right thing is being done. Customer involvement is essential since it helps define correctly to the customer manufacturing issues like lead time. It is vital that a company listens to customer’s perspectives before designing its products to be able to clearly get the product concepts. KJH goes to an extent of checking if the designed product conformed to the purpose it was required for by the company and how effective it was in solving their problems.
According to the article by Gruner and Homburg (2000), KJH clients might be depending on the designed products as a resource to undertake their operations and survival. It is therefore essential for the clients to be allowed to determine their fate in terms of the products that are delivered. Joint actions and heightened levels of collaboration ensures meeting specifications and increase success rate of product performance. Collaboration provides channels of communication exchange which are essential in the supply chain of KJH including retention and loyalty of the customers. Customers can monitor quality of designs since they have knowledge of how the product will be used, conditions for its operations and how perfectly it can be designed to match the strategies.
Lundkvist and Yakhlef (2004) article considers that customers provide ideas and opinions which can solidify and evaluate product concepts. In the case of a new product that is being developed, customer involvement will help impact positively to its performance. The success of the new product therefore highly depends on the modifications made by the customer to suite its use as a resource. Product usage situation matters on the side of the customers since it provides the motivation, perception and evaluation of how the product is to be designed. The need for customization has increased the success of companies and eliminated the failures of product performance. The product needs to be uniquely produced for the customer hence the need for their involvement (Fogliatto & Silveira, 2011)