Product Development and Marketing
Each student is asked to prepare a statement of product development and marketing activities that facilitate the utilisation of a selected wood resource. Five optional resources are offered from which students will choose one as the subject of their work. A further option is offered which is to select an alternative that offers similar development challenges.
The following resources are offered:
1. Teak in the Solomon Islands
2. Acacia in Vietnam
3. Eucalypt hardwoods in subtropical NSW
4. Rain forest (cabinet) timbers in subtropical NSW.
This task, like others assigned in the late stage of training, challenges students to think and develop solutions independently. This skill is most important to prospective employers and defines professional vocation. In this context the task is particularly challenging because of the breadth of issues that are important. These issues relate to principles of marketing offered in the notes for this unit which are:
2. Competitive advantage
Timber presents a unique context because processors are challenged to deal with finding products to match consumer needs while at the same time deal with the variation in properties of bio-materials.
A suggested structure for the report might include:
1. Resource character – Research and describe the properties of the wood, the growth habit (defect, size, shape), and the forest management options that are inferred by each resource type. These data define the scope of product and marketing options available to you. Remember, to be economically efficient, you are challenged to use everything that is harvested, and that any management option needs to be funded at some stage by product harvesting.
2. Market Research and Product Options – Based on the above, research consumer needs or opportunities for product development. The collection of products that are available will define the quantities of money that might be invested in building and operating the value chain from forest to consumer. Remember to match the available volume to the market and consider the competition.
3. Harvest and Processing – Research the operational infrastructure available “off the shelf” that will produce the selected products cost effectively. Describe any product development activities that are needed, if process or product solutions are not immediately available.
4. Competitive Advantage– Clarify in your own mind where the competitive advantage lies. Is it price, quality, customer satisfaction (environmental responsibility, social contribution etc).
5. Financial Aspects – Estimate the investment and returns that are offered by your proposed program of development, and the potential profitability or other benefit.
6. Communications and Promotion – Research and describe the communications strategy you will need to promote your products in the selected market.
I suggest you consider the above possible structure and write down all the threads of research you need to do. Then busy yourself with that research.
When you have information in front of you, you can then start thinking about strategy options, and developing your solution.