COMMERCIALIZING THE KUNST 1600 DRY PISTON VACUUM PUMP
Evan Stone, a senior product manager at Kunst Vacuum Pumps, along with the Division’s Vice President, Will Metz, are in the process of making crucial decisions concerning the commercialization of a new vacuum pump in U.S. Management of Kunst’s new parent company, Atler Gmbh, has requested that Kunst take an Atler 1.6 CFM compressor, reconfigure it as a vacuum pump, and market it under the Kunst brand name to previously untapped market segments. Given the size of the residential air conditioning (AC) repair segment relative to other potential segments (home refrigerator repairs and light commercial refrigerator repairs), Alter management has placed pressure on Evan and Will to begin their commercialization efforts there. Evan and Will are not so sure and decide to perform a value assessment to test this and other assumptions about the marketplace.
To gather data to build a value model, Evan collects available technical and cost data, conducts focus group interviews with repair firm owners and technicians in three cities, and accompanies technicians to job sites to run “side-by-side tests” to compare the Kunst 1600 with other pumps. During the marketing research process, the Kunst R&D laboratory engineers provide useful technical data from scientific tests of pump durability and performance. Lastly, to resolve discrepancies in some marketing research results, Evan interviews wholesaler managers to gain their perspectives on vacuum pump acquisitions, prices, and reliability.
As the research progresses, Evan and Will learn that the new, potential market segments operate differently from the scientific and health care laboratory segments with which they are most familiar. Most importantly, they discover that repair firm managers and technicians are likely to make their pump selection and usage decisions based on unproven “rules of thumb”. For example, in deciding what size of vacuum pump...