Considering the fact that the new Quartz system exploits the potential of the control box, allowing far more flexibility when it comes to installing a new shower – less disruption and destruction both for control system and pipework, it is indeed a unique product. Already, the pipeline of new products appears to be rather healthy. The case describes several, advanced-stage products that leverage the Quartz “platform,” including a BodyJet product and a “slave” remote for the Quartz. In addition, dozens of other ideas are apparently in the early stages of development. Again, the goal is to build a robust enough pipeline to allow for successive product introductions.
Given the inertia in the market, the Quartz shower is a potentially disruptive innovation. The company’s challenge is to generate enough sales momentum to achieve critical mass; once plumbers become familiar with Quartz’s installation advantages and word-of-mouth around the product grows, the marketing task should get easier. On the other hand, if sales do not pick up soon, the market is likely to “write this off as a failure” (case p. 9). For this reason, this is clearly a “make-orbreak” time for Quartz, particularly if one assumes that the classic pattern of diffusion applies (see TN Figure 3).
In this regard, it is important to note that if Quartz were to become a niche product, it would not only be a major disappointment for the company, it would be a major personal embarrassment for Rawlinson as well. Rawlinson, who has only been at the company for three years, has staked his leadership reputation on this product by making it the primary focus of his entire tenure; in the process, he has spent a total of €5.8 million on research and development. To justify this investment, Rawlinson needs to build a mainstream market for this product, and soon.
In short, the Quartz product represents a saving of (at least) €875 for the average consumer. In addition, it requires no excavation, requires...