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Sustainability > Key Activities 2013 > Accelerating Product Development Globally
Fiscal 2013 Key Activities

Quality and Customer Satisfaction. Accelerating Product Development Globally. Creating Products That Anticipate Regional Needs

Responding to Expanding Air Conditioner Demand in Regions with Unique Usage Environments

Air conditioner demand continues to grow, especially in China and other emerging countries. In response, the Daikin Group is making entry into emerging countries and volume-zone markets part of its Fusion 15 strategic management plan as it works to disseminate highly efficient, energy-saving air conditioners.

Some countries and regions of the world are vastly different from Japan in weather and climate, air conditioner usage environment, and the electricity supply situation. Daikin used to launch air conditioners developed for Japan in overseas markets, which made them a hard sell with their overabundance of features and high price. As a result, we spent more time on product development in order to redesign products to meet the local needs of world markets.

 

Worldwide Air Conditioner Demand

Worldwide Air Conditioner Demand

Source: From report on estimates of worldwide air conditioner demand, published by Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association.

Quickly Bringing to Market Affordable Products That Meet Consumer Needs

Since fiscal 2013, the Daikin Group has been developing products under the base model concept, a totally different way of thinking from our previous product development. The base model concept allows us to come up with products that meet various specific regional needs by having our overseas bases mix and match the basic performance factors and common parts from Daikin in Japan. We can thus provide customers with consistently high-quality products at a lower cost and in a shorter design time than we could with our previous product development method.

Base Model Allows Consistently High-Quality Products at a Faster Development Speed and a Lower Cost

Products developed using our base model system went on sale in Japan and China in fiscal 2013 and are scheduled for release in Latin America and Europe in fiscal 2014. Because the base model allows us to simultaneously start product development in multiple countries, we can get products to market in approximately half the time it took previously.

In China, for example, users wanted a strong wind but didn’t want it blowing directly against their bodies. We therefore combined basic performance factors with a powerful fan and a front panel that prevented air from blowing against people in the room so that the product was designed in line with the users’ needs.

With our base model method, many common parts are used in making a product, which means costs can be reduced through volume aggregation. Quality information on the common parts is centrally controlled in Japan, so if there is a problem, it can be quickly remedied around the world, thus allowing provision of consistently high-quality products.

To put the base model philosophy into action, however, we must grasp local needs and reflect these in our design, and this requires that we boost our marketing and development capabilities at our worldwide bases.

Boosting Local Marketing and Development Capabilities By Grasping Regional Needs

Boosting Local Marketing and Development Capabilities By Grasping Regional Needs

Opening More Overseas Development Bases and Dispatching Young Engineers from Japan for Marketing

The Daikin Group is opening up more overseas development bases and staffing them with local engineers. And to boost our development capabilities, we are sending these locally hired engineers to Japan for on-the-job training for approximately six-month periods.

In Japan, we are focusing on fostering engineers. In fiscal 2013, young Japanese engineers were dispatched to eight countries to survey what we believe are the most promising markets. Together with the marketers in overseas development bases, they are surveying how air conditioners are being used in these countries through efforts including discussions with local users. The survey revealed some new findings; for example, we saw residential air conditioners used in small retail stores, and users cooling two rooms with one air conditioner by placing it in a hole in the wall between two rooms. But these observations hinted at new ways we can meet market needs. We will continue these market surveys through interviews and other methods and reflect our findings in new product development.

These are just some of the ways we are striving to respond meticulously to individual market needs by developing products that truly please customers.

Marketing around the worldMarketing around the world

Stakeholder's Voice

Astonished at Daikin’s Enthusiastic Desire to Understand Needs and Meet These with New Product Releases

It’s been three years since we became an exclusive distributor for Daikin. We used to handle products from another Japanese manufacturer, but then we became extremely satisfied with Daikin products. I was impressed with how enthusiastic Daikin was about really understanding our needs: Daikin’s Turkish sales company has locally tailored product planning functions, Daikin staff conduct periodic market surveys that include visits to our store to hear our opinions, and sometimes we receive visits by engineers from the European Head Office and Daikin in Japan. But what astonished me most was that the information garnered from the survey was reflected in products that came to market the very next year! I’ve never seen products developed and on the market so fast. Our customers love the new products’ designs and affordability and our sales have been booming. I look forward to seeing Daikin release more products in line with market needs.

Hakki Karasülek

Hakki KarasülekOwner, Antsermak Ltd.

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