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Author Topic: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management  (Read 2873 times)

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Offline darth2

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Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:22 AM »
Anyone have any insight on how Festool (or any other tool manufacturer) conducts their market research/product management/customer feedback work?  A while back I worked for a high-end automotive brand that re-introduced a vehicle to the NA market and the problems with the vehicle were puzzling if you assumed they had done any real market research.
I see a lot of no-brainer questions and inquiries on here that ultimately seem to end in puzzling if not baffling answers from Festool that, frankly, make me wonder how really committed they are to the NA market OR if they have the right team in place to deliver on the promises that Festool hypes.
I know theres a lot to it and there are regulations to meet but it seems like there are a lot of "issues" and comments that people have with the Festool line and system that don't seem to come up with other brands, possibly because they're not listening to their customer base.
I'm not trying to start a food fight, honestly just wondering how they solicit and process feedback from customers and the market.

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Offline leakyroof

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Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 11:22 AM »
I’ve had two One on One talks with people either from Festool or hired by them as design consultants. They seem very aware of Market issues and ‘Wants’ even though how Festool implements things may confuse us once they’ve done something.   [blink]
I’m sure others have had similar experiences with them from what’s posted on FOG over time.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 151
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 01:32 PM »
The general issue with a lot of companies is when they do survey's they aren't actually trying to find out what they need to be doing, but attempting to confirm what they want the answer to be, which is what they currently are doing or have planned to do. Thing is they don't understand they are doing this very often.  So they are leading those they are trying to get answers from.  Also it means they never get the honest answer they need.  Cars are a great example where this happens.  Manufactures keep trying to add new things, or change some things but not others so that they have something new to offer.  Basically all new cars come with stuff no one wants or asked for, but it's there just to make things new or market for it.  The car people want doesn't happen, since people are given a chance to make clear what they want.

Surveys are only as good as they survey is design. If it is set up with lots of bad pre-assumptions, it's doomed.  But they have to do it to some degree otherwise you get thousands of random inputs and no good way to sort it out.  So to some degree you have to focus people.  But again, if you make bad assumptions up front, it's not going to work. Back looking at cars, you would here "Americans don't want wagons" so even though makers had them globally, they wouldn't bring the wagon to the US, they would bring the sedan.  Never giving buyers an option, and then surprise no one buys the wagon, since you can't buy what doesn't exist.  Thing is, outside pickup trucks, all the best selling vehicles in the country are wagons.  They just get called SUVs/CUVs.  People always wanted wagons, but the makers were blind to the reality and doing things that hid reality. 

But it also doesn't mean companies should do surveys. A lot of time you just need to have a plan, understand the needs of folks, which you should be able to get from your own employees who should be using the products.  People don't often know what they want, or how something should be different. But once you show them something, they will then want it.  Plan out a system in the case of tools and stick to it, don't make random changes.  If you did things right, people will get it. Maybe you even have to show them. 

It looks like Festool got this at first, they brought their stuff over, so they showed folks metric tools, pitched a system of things. But then made random changes probably based on some bad feedback. So you have mixed units, and incomplete systems (CMS), which then end up a mess.  People really don't like instability/inconsistency/random changes.

To much surveying of people will get you to make changes that drive you back to how things were/or are. And that then kills improvement/change.  Not that all change is good. 

But like they say, if your a hammer, everything is a nail.  If your company is on a certain path, you are going to generally find ways to make the surveys tell you everything needs a hammer.

I suspect Festool falls victim to some bad planning (not designing their tools to be universal electrical like pretty much all other electrical devices sold globally).  Then not sticking to a plan, possibly by bad feedback, or by making bad assumptions about people/countries.  And just like cars, people can't buy what you don't sell. And just because what you sell gets bought, it doesn't mean that is what people really wanted, it might have just been the only/best option in a sea of no good options.

No company lives in a bubble, their staff are people too. But they doesn't mean internal they will all be on the same page. Problems/Wants will get to the inside one way or another.  That doesn't mean anything specific will happen/change.

Feedback channels to companies are rare, and the ones that companies say are for that aren't. If you have ever tried a feedback form or survey from a company you quickly see they don't want your feedback, they want you to confirm what they are doing is the best answer.  There is never a blank box saying "tell us what you want", or a direct email address for "feature requests".

Offline darth2

  • Posts: 21
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 03:44 PM »
That's all good insight in general and appreciated but it doesn't really answer my question as to how Festool actually does/has done their research.  I know working in a large organization can be hair-pulling frustrating and working for a NA distributor for a German company is probably one of the hardest ones out there but it still seems like there are gaffes being made on the product marketing/management side that are too obvious to ignore or chalk up to institutional resistance.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2018, 06:38 PM »
I don’t work for Festool.  But I have been around a while.  Festool usually won’t talk about these types of things publicly on the internet.

But In the interest of possibly get an answer for you after this post I will move this to the ASK Festool area.

Peter

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 5695
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2018, 01:05 AM »
but it seems like there are a lot of "issues" and comments that people have with the Festool line and system

How do you know about these "comments and issues"? Oh wait, Festool has their own forum.

that don't seem to come up with other brands,

Why don't they come up with other brands? Oh wait, NOBODY ELSE has their own forum.

I'm not trying to start a food fight, honestly just wondering how they solicit and process feedback from customers and the market.

For instance through this forum, through their representatives that speak to customers and through their development team that works together with groups of selected testers. Same as any other company. Except for this forum, which is more or less a Festool exclusive.

Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2018, 05:37 AM »
I have been able to talk directly face to face to german Festool rep, I don't know if it is okay to mention him by name on the forum but he travels around a lot to different countries and is eager to learn and ask how things are done. Some of you might have met him too and he can be seen on german Festool videos as well.

The thing that makes me chuckle a little is when people in the US say things like "the way they do it in Europe" - or the other way around of course. Europe is not one country and the way carpenters work in Germany vs Sweden is quite different - even more so than I thought and knew before talking to the rep from Festool. I think it was the same for him as he knew very little about the Swedish market in terms of how and which tools are used.

Some tools I mentioned that I would like to see from Festool he actually knew nothing about (18V nail gun for instance) and asked how and why we would use it. I gave him a lot of different scenarios and showed him the Senco Fusion gun which I am very familiar with. He seemed impressed by it, took some photos and seemed like to enjoy the conversation. I did find it strange that someone so "deep" into a electric tool company in the product department did not know anything about nail guns.

Some suggestions I had for the new battery platform seemed to interest him too, I could tell that he had not thought about some of the suggestions which he scribbled down, asking for scenarios as to why I would choose to go cordless over corded. I did among other things ask for a battery operated OFK500 edge router. It would literally kick *ss. :)

He also confirmed that some things I had on my wish list was not in development (= not going to happen) and some things I was hoping for was "either being looked into" which in corporate terms basically means that someone already has mentioned it to them and that it is on a short list somewhere but might not lead to anything or "in development" which means that they are actually prototyping it or even packing it in crates for shipping. :D

If anyone from Festool reads this - ask the rep where that Impact is that you told me late 2017 to wait for in 2018 when I grabbed a Hitachi triple hammer impact to show him the ergonomics - I am still waiting but to be fair there are seven months left in 2018. ;)

My conclusion is that Festool does look into the market and does listen to carpenters for input. They surely have other channels as well but I think one problem Festool has had in the past is that they have relied on input from the huge german market and maybe some other countries but since the way of doing things are quite different I am sure they have and have had a lot of "blind spots" in their marketing strategy.

I know Festool are tight lipped but apart from a few proprietary designs I don't think there is any harm in telling the loyal customers that yes, we are working on what you are asking for - especially when it is something that almost every other brand already has out there on the shelf.

Personally I think Festool nowadays are a mixed bag of Genius and Meh when it comes to new products. What does trouble me is that I keep hanging on to the 18V system which even in all fairness is severely limited compared to any other brand and the gaps in the line up are large. If there was some sort of road map with products in development it would help me figure out if I should stay in the loop or take my monies somewhere else.








EDIT > removed employee name.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 10:35 AM by SRSemenza »
Festool:  CS 50EB precisio set, Domino DF500, DF XL 700, OFK500 edge router, OF1010 router EHL65 planer, CTL Mini/Midi Vac, CTL 26 vac MFT800+1080 tables
DSC-AG Grinder,  RAS 115
Rotex 150, ETS EC 150/5 RTS400
Drills: T18, BHC18, CXS.
SysLite KAL II, SYS Rock.
Sys- and Sortainers galore.

Line up has been reduced with the introduction of Mafell/Metabo tools. Red Green and Blue do mix well in the shop.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 947
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2018, 07:07 AM »
To answer the OP: the road shows gives contact to users, the people I met there seem to listen to what we have to say. I also met the rep last year and had a long and interesting talk about the state of things, he asked me if I could put the parts I see as important into writing so he could forward them to the respective departments (which I did, several pages long). Even though I didn't get detailed feedback on many of the things I wrote about... I still get a 'how satisfied are you with your contact to festool' survey mail out of the blue from time to time (which seems to be triggered whenever a part of what I wrote is processed internally), so I reckon that their gears are still turning regarding my points.

Also there is https://www.festool.de/wissen/ideenoffensive where you can pitch them a new product (in case you have developed one) or suggestions on how to improve existing things.







EDIT> removed employee name
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 10:37 AM by SRSemenza »

Offline six-point socket II

  • Posts: 709
  • aka @the_black_tie_diyer
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2018, 08:13 AM »
Hi!

All I can add from personal experience is that Festool is one of the most communicative manufacturers that I have seen to date.

E-Mail (Not even once, did I get one of those pre-written standard replies!), phone, roadshow/personal, Instagram ...

They listen to their customers, but that does not mean that everything you ask for, or point out to, is "on the shelf" within a couple of weeks or even months/years (or ever...).

And while I can't speak from experience on this, I'm pretty sure Festool has products evaluated "out in the field".

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline darth2

  • Posts: 21
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2018, 01:06 PM »
but it seems like there are a lot of "issues" and comments that people have with the Festool line and system

How do you know about these "comments and issues"? Oh wait, Festool has their own forum.

that don't seem to come up with other brands,

Why don't they come up with other brands? Oh wait, NOBODY ELSE has their own forum.

I'm not trying to start a food fight, honestly just wondering how they solicit and process feedback from customers and the market.

For instance through this forum, through their representatives that speak to customers and through their development team that works together with groups of selected testers. Same as any other company. Except for this forum, which is more or less a Festool exclusive.

Thanks for the shade, Alex.  Your answers, while appreciated to some extent, seem to indicate that you're not understanding what asking for.  Nonetheless, thanks for the input.  Manufacturer forums are hardly unique, BTW.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2018, 04:00 PM »
I have had the opportunity to sit down and speak across the table from Festool folks.  I am sure that there have been times that they didn't love hearing what I said, but they did respect the input.  I might be stepping out of bounds here but regarding the question about how Festool does market research based on the limited amount of information that I know.

1.  This forum.  This forum represents a minor portion of the owners and users worldwide but it is monitored.
2.  Other social media.
3.  Questionnaires and surveys.
4.  Roadshow and exhibition events. 
5.  Employee interaction with end users.
6.  Special envoys (my term for them) - Festool is constantly sending out employees to visit with and observe users both in the US and elsewhere.  Usually they are sent out with a specific goal in gathering information about  ?
7.  Focus groups.

If users want to reach out directly to them (the fastest way usually) they should contact their country's Festool office either by email or phone.

Peter


Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2196
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2018, 05:38 PM »
I have had the opportunity to sit down and speak across the table from Festool folks.  I am sure that there have been times that they didn't love hearing what I said, but they did respect the input.  I might be stepping out of bounds here but regarding the question about how Festool does market research based on the limited amount of information that I know.

1.  This forum.  This forum represents a minor portion of the owners and users worldwide but it is monitored.
2.  Other social media.
3.  Questionnaires and surveys.
4.  Roadshow and exhibition events. 
5.  Employee interaction with end users.
6.  Special envoys (my term for them) - Festool is constantly sending out employees to visit with and observe users both in the US and elsewhere.  Usually they are sent out with a specific goal in gathering information about  ?
7.  Focus groups.

If users want to reach out directly to them (the fastest way usually) they should contact their country's Festool office either by email or phone.

Peter
. # 5 and 6 are exactly what I’ve experienced....
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 151
Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2018, 06:09 PM »
Probably the most important things folks should remember is almost no product companies talk about future products.  It's just not how companies work, and talking about future stuff is a mine field (especially if it later doesn't get made, or come to a particular market).  Pretty sure things a few years ago said the CMS inserts for the saws were coming to the US, no where to be seen.

Others mentioned how they get input, and that's basically how all companies will work.  Best most folks can do is just post their input/feedback/comments in places like here. Maybe it goes to the circular file, but maybe the run with it, at the very least it gives you a place to say what you have to say and feel a bit better.  I waited a few years to login and make a post on my issue, will it changes things, probably not, but I feel a bit better.  I basically gave up thinking Festool would just fix the glitch.

If you have an idea, say something otherwise you have to hope others think the same.  But also be aware, that others may give input that is exactly opposite of what you want, and you will give input exactly the opposite of what others want... thus companies will ensure no one ends up happy.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2018, 06:33 PM »
I understand that I am a Moderator here and what I will write will seem out of character.  But I have always been pro get-people-to-the-right place.

Go direct with your questions, thoughts, problems to Festool if you can.  It will eliminate time that is valuable to you.

This forum is a great place but sometimes the direct route is better.

Peter

Offline six-point socket II

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Re: Festool Feedback/Market Research/Product Management
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2018, 06:35 PM »
Hi!

I absolutely agree with you, Peter!

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver