Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

The Personal Perspective

Sometimes I get ideas at the oddest times.  Most of my ideas for a Views come when I am exercising.  Actually the treadmill or the bicycle are the most frequent motivators.  But I guess that should be expected since they consume the most time.  But today, a thought hit me while showering.  I love to use shower gel.  In the shower stall, I have four different brands.  I started using a new brand this morning.  Usually I make a quick squeeze of the bottle to dispense the product onto the sponge.  But this morning, I had to give it another squeeze.  I did not get enough out of the bottle on the first attempt.  Later, I compared both the bottle and the product with the other brands I had available.  This new brand had a much thicker viscosity and a very small orifice in the flip top dispenser.  No wonder I had to make two attempts.  I am sure that if I stay with this brand over multiple uses, I will adjust to the variables, but if I alternate between the brands, adjustment will probably never happen.

So what's the big deal with the shower gel?  It's not the shower get that I am concerned with, but the the concept of product development.  The manufacturer of the shower gel is not a fly-by-night company.  It is a well-established company.  I wonder how much time they spent in researching this product?  What's the big deal?  Well, first of all, the dispensing of the product has a major impact on both the consumer and the company.  The amount of product dispensed each time can have a profound impact on customer satisfaction.  The effectiveness of the product will be correlated wit the amount of product dispensed.  Secondly, the profits of the company can be directly affected by the amount of product dispensed each time.  There is nothing worse, well almost nothing, than having your product last twice as long as expected in a household.  There is a fine line between efficacy and value, one that many companies ignore.

It seems so trivial to worry about the orifice size of a cap dispenser.  But I can tell you I spent many hours and dollars doing nothing but exploring the effects of the orifice size of a cap dispenser of a dishwashing detergent bottle, the cap size of a laundry detergent bottle, the viscosity of the product, the thickness of the walls of the detergent bottles, etc.  All play a part in the profits of the company and the customer satisfaction.

Another thought I had pertained to the use of experimental products by those involved in the development of the product.  For a long time it was my belief that much can be learned by having all involved in a project use the test product as well as the competitive brands.  These sources of information can at times be of much more value than the formally designed research projects.  It is first hand assessment by those who can have an immediate impact on the product design.  It's the personal perspective.

Sponsor:  Sorensen Associates Inc      Portland, OR  800.542.4321        Minneapolis, MN  888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company