Product development is about much more than brainstorming amongst engineers. I have become very familiar with Lumon’s glazing products during my nearly 30-year career with the company while serving various roles over this period. Simply put, the task of product development is to sustain our status as the best supplier of glazing in the industry.
At Lumon the entire organization is a part of the development work, evaluating ideas and communicating customer feedback. The product development team brings together the technical elements of the materials as well as the aesthetic perspective to develop a product which is efficient to produce, as well as a product which fulfils strict quality requirements.
We want to be able to connect concrete experiences with fresh new ideas, not to mention external expert opinions.
Narrowing it down to the best bits
The development process includes many steps, so that only the most functional solution is brought to the market. We want to consistent and thorough, so that we make sure to take into account perspectives from various stakeholders. That is why a year can be considered a very short period of time in product development.
First, we ensure that we are focused on solving needs of our customers – be it a completely new product concept or some technical detail, such as the improvement of the lock systems.
After assessing feasibility and the current market, Lumon listens to the perspectives of various professionals in the industry – architects, designers, builders, and its own employees – so that the best ideas can be brought forward into the development process.
We go through various feedback rounds with our drawings and prototypes, and every step is a step towards improving our product. It’s like searching for the best bits. Even after the commercialization and production decisions have been made, we complete user testing at pilot sites, which can, for example, be done in collaboration with VTT*
However, even the most measured laboratory examination or pilot site monitoring does not beat the authentic customer experience. User experiences are collected from all markets.
The product is never complete. After the product is launched, we continue developing details on the basis of customer experiences. This is why we are endlessly curious about the experiences our customers have.
A functional Finnish product through tundras to the tropics
Alongside many other building products, the development and manufacture of terrace glazing is challenged with the diversity of sites, as well as differences in between markets. Every building is different, and the sizes of terraces and balconies can differ even amongst ‘cookie-cutter’ subdivisions, not to mention privately owned detached homes or holiday homes. Every customer receives a tailor-made solution, so Lumon’s product must provide the flexibility customizability.
In export markets, even the factors contributing to the need of glazing are varied. When in Finland the BBQ and furniture is protected from the snow and rain, in Spain’s Andalusia, the wind blows the sands of Sahara onto the terrace. In Southern Europe, a lot of Lumon’s customers are restaurants, significantly extending the patio season and seating space with the help of a glazed patio. In Canada, customers are looking for a space protected from mosquitoes.
The climate, building culture, and design all contribute to the needs of customers in various countries. With active participation from our sales departments all over the world delivering customer feedback information, we can be successful in taking all of these needs into account. When we have sufficient customer feedback, we can make the necessary improvements to the product here at the factory.
*VTT is one of Europe’s leading research institutions and a limited liability company that is fully owned by the Finnish state and operates under the ownership steering of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.