The Power of Product Platforms

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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 e...
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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.

 

Product Details

Paperback: 288 pages

     
     
     

    Editorial Reviews

    Review

    Francis P. Lucier Former Chairman and CEO, Black & Decker A must read for the CEO who wants to do better. This book provides a pragmatic track for product planning that pays off. -- Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
     

    About the Author

    Marc H. Meyer is Associate Professor of Management at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration, Research Director of the College's Center for Technology Management, and has been a Visiting Associate Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Meyer is also a co-founder of three software companies and consults actively to leading manufacturers in high-tech industries.

    Alvin P. Lehnerd has held executive positions at Black & Decker, Sunbeam, and Steelcase. He has led several well-known developments and innovations resulting in new product successes, including Black & Decker's Dustbuster, Sunbeam's first electronic auto-shut off and global iron product lines, and the complete redesign on Black & Decker's double insulated consumer power tools. He teaches at Northeastern University, University of Pennsylvania, and at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    By Stephan Klein on June 5, 2014
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    To the point. Excellent examples. Precisely what I was looking for when I was searching for generic approaches in regard to technical platform strategies.
    Comment  Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I read the book to gain more insight into the benefits and potential costs of product platforms.
    Although the book has been out for a while, the presentation and material are still timely and topical.
    A must-read for everyone interested in innovation strategies and the link to competitive advantage and profitability
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    By A Customer on July 13, 2004
    Format: Hardcover
    If you are senior RD, then it's the book for you, especially in hardware system industry. I personally appreciate the section of composite design and the concept of product platform. It provide general guide to learn from competitor and way to surpass them.
    Software portion is not recommended since the example it provide is not solid enough to work out the argument to apply the same concept to software. However, you may workout your ideas from original platform concept in software planning. Maybe. It remain as a question to me until now.
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    By A Customer on February 11, 1999
    Format: Hardcover
    After taking a course at Northeastern University taught by Marc Meyers I decided to read his books. He is very forward thinking and offers ideas coupled with real-world experiences. This book is a must read, right up there with The Goal. As a supply-chain consultant, I give this book to my clients to read.

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