||The most important stage in product development is defining specification. However, it is usually decided by top managers, who may not have enough domain know-how and customer exposure to make the right choice. The resulting design decision may work fine, but often time, due to a lack of mechanism to gather information and lack of time to discuss with team members, it may result in failure in the product design process, either in cancelled projects or in market failure.|
To prevent these costly failures, employees have to be empowered in the design specification stage. In practice, this means that the design process will take longer becomes less efficiency. However, a well planned mechanism implemented in an information system may alleviate the potential inefficiency, and help to reach a better design choice.
Company J is a global manufacturer for branded products, with employees, especially sales and marketing teams, all over the world. Employees as a whole have better understanding of the market, and it makes sense to incorporate there input during the specification stage. This study analyses the current practice in new product design for Company J and proposes an E-Survey system to accomplish that. The mechanism is based on the self-administered questionnaire survey method, and is designed to collect employee opinion and suggestions about new products that are still on the drawing board. A voting system is also suggested to collect employees’ preferences regarding final product selection for top managers’ reference. The system will be linked into the current enterprise information portal.
This study also suggests that when system is launched, there should be a team to monitor the E-Survey system, especially in aggregating suggestions and status tracking. These will be accomplished through process reengineering.
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