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Local Differences Ignored

Here’s a not untypical tale I became privy to through a leading light in the electrical market.

US-owned lighting company Thorn decided to unleash (or should we say rather, foist) some new products on their European division.

‘Go sell, no excuses’. The usual kind of MNC story.

After a short while, the American bosses realised that no-one was selling their latest wonder-products. They investigated at once.

The answer came back in uncompromising fashion.

those products are all imperial, when our customers only want metric

I wonder as an aside if in years to come this might be termed in textbooks The NASA Crash? They’ve famously lost (at least?) two spacecraft because of this same measurement mismatch (1999 $125m Mars probe got too close & 2006 ~$50m Dart colliding with a satellite). I believe when relating to any two ‘systems’ incompatibility in general, these are called consistency issues.

Of course, there are two points here.

It is incredible how infrequently a product that works in one space, seamlessly cleans up in another. Even McDonald’s tweak their menu by country.

And it is also worth noting that new products need input from the salesguys. And they so rarely ever do which might well mean more product launch shortcomings that in their own way, are as expensive for salespeople as NASA smash-ups yet could easily be avoided.

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Category: new products

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