Industry & Product Research

This type of research involves interviewing manufacturers about the selection and use of a product in the manufacturing process, or interviewing retailers about the sale of a product, or interviewing end-users about the use of a product.

Questions may be about the specific product used in various applications, the amount of product used, and how the decision was made to purchase the product vs. a competitive product. User's may be interviewed about their experience with the product, satisfaction with the product, anticipated future use of the product, and changes they would like to see manufacturers make to the product. Retailers may also be questioned about their experience selling the product and their experience with the manufacturer and manufacturer's service reps.

As an example, for many years (as The Field Company) we have been conducting this type of research for APA – The Engineered Wood Association. We survey manufacturers in various industry sectors (door and window makers, building contractors, furniture manufacturers, camper and trailer manufacturers, sign makers, etc.) to identify the types and amount of various wood products used in manufacturing. Using this data, and data from the business census and industry sources, APA projects and tracks the use of their members’ products in each manufacturing sector. Surveys also identify manufacturers’ opinions as to product strengths and weaknesses and solicit suggestions for product improvement.

For manufacturers themselves, we’ve conducted surveys with retailers to get their feedback on how products are accepted by end-users and we’ve surveyed end-users (such as contractors) about their experiences using products.

For university researchers, we’ve gathered similar data about the use of products, materials, or technologies, and the impact of, or opinions about, manufacturing-related regulations and other issues.

Although most of our work has been in the Forest Products Industry, the research technique would be identical in other industry sectors.