A significant and often neglected obstacle in new product development is the testing and approval process in the late stages of development. The testing process has primarily been observed as an in-house decision process, however, in many industries products undergo extensive testing before market launch where external stakeholders play a key role. Users are often integrated in testing of new product candidates, and supply valuable knowledge to developers by testing the new product in natural business settings. As especially high-tech products are closely linked to related services and usage patterns, utilization of users input to not only product functionality, but also the related services and usage patterns are relevant. This study contributes to the literature on these crucial phases of late stage product development, by exploring developers’ utilization of the knowledge and experiences generated by users in product testing. Further, the important user network in high-tech product testing may likely be globally dispersed, and the mean of communicating between user and producer in the testing process are therefore tested. A dataset of 395 site-representatives are applied to study the knowledge generated and shared by medical sites and Pharmaceutical producers in late stage product development. The results show, that information regarding usage patterns and product related services are more difficult to transfer between user and developer, than issues directly related to the product. Further, with a dispersed user network a positive effect is observed on the mean to communicate directly as issues occur. The effect of virtual communication is therefore stronger than traditional face-to-face interaction patterns.
Proceedings of the 19th International Product Development Management Conference, 2012
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19th International Product development Management Conference, 2012