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Assessment of hidden and future customer needs in Finnish business‐to‐business companies

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The development of new products should be based on the needs expected to exist even several years ahead – at the moment of market introduction and during the whole lifecycle of the product. To develop successful new products in the toughening business environment, companies should be able to surpass customers’ expectations and to assess emerging customer needs proactively. Early, thorough understanding of the customer’s real needs, including the assessment of hidden and future customer needs and requirements, plays a very important role in the successful development of new products.

The purpose of our paper is to study the assessment of new (hidden and future) customer needs for product development in Finnish business‐to‐business companies. We have carried out a survey in 93 Finnish business‐to‐business companies and SBUs to study their common problems in the assessment of unrecognized customer needs and potentially effective ways in clarifying new customer needs and dealing with important problems. On the basis of the results, we propose several possible ways to facilitate the assessment of unrecognized customer needs.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9310.00227

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland, 2: R&D Center, Valtra Inc., Box 557, FIN‐40101 Jyväskylä, Finland, 3: Telecom Business Research Center, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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