The Power of Product Platforms
Most companies know that long-term success does not hinge on any single product but on a continuous stream of value-rich products that target growth markets. Yet many firms inexplicably develop one product at a time, and by doing so fail to embrace commonality, compatibility, standardization, or modularization among different products and product lines. At last, in this timely book, Marc H. Meyer and Alvin P. Lehnerd provide a formula for turning products into profits, enabling companies to design technologically superior products more easily. Their solution is, in two words, PRODUCT PLATFORMS. They argue that firms must focus their energies on developing families of products simultaneously which share common components and technology.
The authors describe how the champions of product development separate themselves from less sophisticated companies by building entire families of strong products from a single "platform" of common product structures, technologies, and automated product processes. These successful companies recognize and respond to new market opportunities by integrating core skills and technology in the form of new products. In this easy-to-read and practical book, the authors masterfully elucidate this dynamic and forward-thinking strategy which enables companies to develop innovative products faster, more cheaply, and with less effort.
Drawing on in-depth case studies and personal experience with successful companies such as Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Black & Decker, and Boeing, Meyer and Lehnerd show managers how to create extraordinary products and thereby set the standard for combined value and cost leadership in their products. They argue that when a company's products are robust-highly functional, elegant in their design, reasonably priced, and a pleasure to use-the corporation will be equally robust. More importantly, The Power of Product Platforms reveals the methodology and organizational approach for designing, developing, and revitalizing strong products that enable the firm to make the transition from one generation of technology to the next. The authors also explain how well-designed product platforms can generate streams of derivative products through a continuous systematic process of renewal.
Meyer and Lehnerd apply this methodology to a broad range of industries; manufacturing in both consumer and industrial markets, software firms, and Internet information services providers.
This clear prescription for transforming the bottom line by aggressively managing product development and innovation will become required reading for large and small corporations alike, including entrepreneurs, all of whom depend on the excellence of their new products for growth.
- Free Press, November 2011
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