The ever-present desire in business to do things faster and at a lower cost has resulted in many different methodologies for cutting time.  Approaches like Lean and Agile are being applied broadly outside their original areas of manufacturing and software development.  Now we are increasingly able to apply unique principles of each tool to sensory methodology.

According to the Lean Enterprise Institute, the core idea of Lean is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, Lean means creating more value for customers utilizing fewer resources.  The process approach is:

  1. Identify Value: Specify value from the standpoint of the end customer by product family.
  2. Eliminate Extra Steps: Identify all the steps in the value stream for each product family, eliminating steps that do not add value.
  3. Create Flow: Ensure that value-creating steps occur in tight sequence so the product will flow smoothly toward the customer.
  4. Move Upstream: As flow is introduced, let customers pull value from the next upstream activity.
  5. Repeat until Complete: As value is specified, value streams are identified, wasted steps are removed, and flow and pull are introduced, begin the process again and continue it until a state of perfection is reached in which perfect value is created with no waste.

Agile, a more recent philosophy, is built off a manifesto that focuses on delivering value for customers, working in small teams in short cycles, and having networked organizational arrangements rather than top-down bureaucracy and silos.

The challenge we are faced with, is how do these philosophies translate into our world of sensory and consumer research?  As it turns out Sensory Spectrum has been following these philosophies for years in the tools we’ve developed to support our clients. 

Identifying the steps in the value stream occurs in our initial discussions about the objective or goals of the project.  By clearly understanding the goals, we can best design the approach.  We can at that point cut out any approaches that do not add value. 

Smaller teams of experts who use modified ballots to provide guidance on initial prototypes, follow the Agile approach.  Our specific approaches to product understanding include:

  • Spectrum Snapshot – an innovative method for generating descriptive and qualitative feedback on products. Samples will be evaluated by the highly trained Spectrum consultants.   Spectrum Snapshot is a holistic approach that gives general descriptive and qualitative feedback at a lower cost than full descriptive profiles.
  • Spectrum On-site Testers – we bring the experts to you, a small group (2-3) highly trained experts will go to the client site and evaluate samples for raw material substitution, off note identification, product improvement, competitive matching, category comparisons, etc..
  • Spectrum Community Narrative Panel (SCAN) – SCAN panel moves easily within the creative problem-solving process and can be used for consumer co-creation in front end research. In addition, they are articulate in describing their experiences with sensory properties, which allows them to be used to create or refine product concepts or prototypes.  ​
  • Spectrum Pairing – Using Expert Panels to Identify and Describe Successful Flavor Synergies: A Powerful Tool to Shorten the Development Process. A one day pairing session could result in hundreds of potential flavor pairings, many unexpected and unique.
  • Traditional Rapid Methods – Napping, Free Choice Profiling, Sorting, Flash Profile – in addition to our proprietary methods we can conduct more traditional approaches.

The desire to get results faster and cheaper is a concept that is not going away.  Sensory Spectrum can bring several alternatives to the table, enabling our partners to get to market faster.

Can we help you?  Contact us today!

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