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Customer integration and Voice-of-customer methods in the German automotive industry

: Rese, Alexandra; Sänn, Alexander; Homfeldt, Felix


International journal of automotive technology and management : IJATM 15 (2015), No.1, pp.1-19
ISSN: 1470-9511
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Open innovation and the integration of external sources have become increasingly important for the automotive industry. Users and customers possessing needs and problems are major sources for innovative ideas. The idea generation can be supported by the use of specific methods and instruments. This study investigates internal and external sources of innovative ideas and the use of voice-of-customer (VoC) methods in the German automotive industry. A special focus is on the lead user method which involves users who are ahead of the market making them attractive sources for innovative ideas. The findings show that easy to use VoC methods are mostly used to gather customers' needs and wants. Nevertheless, more complex methods such as the lead user method proved advantageous with regard to the quality and quantity of innovative ideas. Because negative aspects became less important with increasing usage frequency, their usage should be encouraged.