Firms realize that customers have a significant impact on whether a product or service goes to market successfully. Customer co-creation, the process where organizations and consumers work together to create ideas, products, and services, therefore has become a popular medium (Saarjärvi et al., 2013). Often in this case organizations steer product innovation, but customers have a say in it. One firm that also uses this new medium is DEWALT (BBC, 2016).
DEWALT, is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker and leader in the American professional power tool market for the construction, manufacturing, and woodworking industries. The company is founded in 1924 and since then millions of professionals have relied on the company to produce the latest durable products that solve new challenges on the worksite.
DEWALT follows a revenue based business model that aims to provide value in delivering optimized professional workhorse solution-tools, accessories, and services to ensure confidence for the toughest jobsite conditions. But besides making tools like utility knives and pliers, DEWALT is also known for making digital products like the TOOL CONNECT and CRIMP CONNECT mobile app that allow you to digitally connect and control DEWALT products. Moreover, DEWALT made an android-powered smartphone designed for building industry workers. The device is designed to survive a two meter drop on to concrete and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20C to 60C (Forbes, 2016).
Co-creation of customers
Because competition is fierce, many industry participants try to launch more tools with beter quality in a shorter time period. To not fall behind, DEWALT needed a fast and accurate assessment tool to be more reactive in the marketplace. Additionally, to understand the direction technology and innovation needed to go, DEWALT realized that launching products that meet the needs of tradespeople requires bringing them into the decision-making process for ideation, product testing and usability, marketing, and packaging. To meet the aforementioned challenges DEWALT launched the DEWALT Insights Forum, an insight community of 12,000 members who share ongoing feedback and which additionally allows invention submission where professional tradesmen and loyal customers submit ideas for new products. This community is built together with partner Vision Critical and includes customers, partners, employees, fans, donors, and alumni. The characteristics of an insight community compared to other communities is depicted below (Visioncritical, 2015) (DEWALT, 2016).
Using a Insight community, DEWALT gets rapid and ongoing feedback that allows them to make easier business decisions. More specifically, the insight community allows DEWALT to engage with customers in an ongoing dialogue that respects members individuality and their humanity, and which complements other data sources, like Big Data, CRM, and social media analytics. This together: builds better products as DEWALT better understands how its products fit and function in the lives of their customers, provides better service, and delivers better results. The advantages of the Insight community are depicted below (Saarjärvi et al., 2013).
While traditional market research can be impersonal, time consuming and expensive, the DEWALT Insights Forum creates relationships with members and saves the company time and money. The company saved more than $1 million in research costs in 2016 and almost $6 million since establishing the Insight community. DEWALT can now use one resource for the entire lifespan of a project and once products have launched they can follow up easily with satisfaction and quality surveys (Dewalt, 2016).
Overall, DEWALT is a business case which shows us that the theoretical advantages of customer co-creation can indeed become reality and benefit an organization significantly.
Hannu Saarijärvi P.K. Kannan Hannu Kuusela, (2013),”Value co-creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications”, European Business Review, Vol. 25 Iss 1 pp. 6 – 19