Keeping products current

by The Times 100 on Friday 23rd September, 2011

Businessman Lawrence Tomlinson has amassed a £500m fortune through shrewd development of his businesses. These include care homes, chemicals, computers and construction firms – but at weekends you can find him at the centre of another of his firms – Ginetta cars. The firm makes racing cars which take part in three different Ginetta competitions at circuits in England and Scotland. Its racing championships are seen as a way for promising drivers to move up the motorsport ladder to Formula 3 or even F1. In addition, the firm produces high-performance road cars in limited numbers for those who can afford them.

Mr Tomlinson bought Ginetta in 2005 and takes an active role in developing new models. He says, 'It is about producing the right product at the right price. We make money on everything we make and will continue to make money as long as cars stay in production and we keep developing new cars. We are always having to invest in product. It is a serious, serious business.' (BBC, 20 September 2011)

All businesses need to focus on how to improve their products and services in order to keep or increase customers. Like Ginetta, Portakabin, a manufacturer of factory produced buildings, has decided that product development will allow Portakabin to provide more choices for its customers in order to meet their changing needs more closely and, ultimately, increase profits. If organisations are to succeed, they rely on a constant stream of new ideas. Ideas for new products can come from many places, such as market research or research and development. They can also come from monitoring the actions of competitors or identifying a gap in the market.

Portakabin has developed a range of new products called Essential Business Solutions (EBS). The purpose of EBS was to develop products that more closely meet the needs of its customers. The creation of EBS helped Portakabin to identify everything that its customers required in order to have a complete quality working environment. It recognised that a modern building is more than simply a structure. An environment needs to be comfortable and productive. EBS now accounts for a substantial proportion of the turnover of the hire business. It has also enhanced the image of Portakabin as a 'total solutions' business that can provide high levels of customer satisfaction and customer recommendations.

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