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.
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.
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.
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.
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.