Owens Corning is a leading manufacturer of building materials for the residential, commercial and industrial construction industries. Among their products is an extensive line of interior ceiling tiles.
The Problem
In the late 1970's, the company asked us to design an insert promotingOwens Corning ceiling tiles for the Sweet's Catalog, a multi-volume resource directory of building materials for architects and developers. Our review of their material led us to believe that the organization of the products, which focused on new textures, was not a very good structure for architects to find the correct product for their needs. We felt that a user-friendly organization of products, one which reflected the customer's decision-making process, might be a significant advantage in pursuading them to use Owens Corning's insert (over competitors' inserts in the same publication) as a specification guide, resulting in the sale of more products.
The Solution
We interviewed a number of architects and builders and asked them to describe the process they followed when they specified ceiling tiles. The results were strikingly consistent among all the architects.
      For example, all interviewed stated that their first decision was whether the ceiling panels needed to be fire-rated or not. The second decision was tongue-in-groove or suspended grid. And the third decision was whether to use revealed edge or square edge tiles. While there were some discrepancies among participants in decisions later in the process, it was clear that specifiers followed a common decision making process in specifying ceiling tiles, and it did not reflect the organization of Owens Corning's product presentation.
      We created a decision tree model based on our input and restructured the organization of the ceiling tiles, designing the insert to reflect this model.
The Result
We succeeded in pursuading the company to restructure their product presentation. The company was so enamored of this approach that the division restructured their entire product line to reflect this approach.
      Soon after, our client presented the concept to top management, and the company decided to restructure the product lines of every Owens Corning division in a similar manner. In addition, our client was promoted to oversee this process within the company.