why did hp's alex project fail?
Post on 10-Jan-2016
Embed Size (px)
DESCRIPTIONWhy did HP's Alex Project Fail?
Why did HPs alex project fail?
Why did HPs alex project fail?Technical problems slowed down the scheduleReplacing the traditional belt with a wire would reduce costs, but the wire could not perform adequately to achieve the desired print density.A standard polymer paten would be 70% to 80% the cost of a proprietary rubber paten, but it would be slippery, and might cause the paper to skew easily. The keypad was designed to be separately built and then assembled onto the machine, but its quality of being detachable caused it to fail the usual HP drop test. The small gap between the keypad and the body of the printer made the machine vulnerable to electro-static discharge. Bringing down costs was more difficult than expectedThe encoder would have to be cut to less than one fifth of its costs in the Deskjet, and no vendor could provide it at that cost. Conflicting priorities of design engineers and manufacturingThe designers in Vancouver concentrated on how to achieve the best functionality, while the group in charge of manufacturing (in Singapore) were concerned about high volume production, and wanted to make sure that any changes in the product could be accommodated by their vendors. The Vancouver team assumed that such changes could be made, and did not consider them. geographical and time differencesTeam members were separated by 7,000 miles, a 15 hour time difference, and considerable variation in work styles. This meant that the Singaporean members could not demonstrate their points physically before their Vancouver colleagues, and vice versa. Furthermore, the Singapore team (the 3 firmware engineers) located in Vancouver were homesick.
Cultural differences complicated project managementSingaporeans were accustomed to more consensual decision making and a more hierarchical system. Americans, on the other hand, were more accustomed to making individual decisions within clearly articulated boundaries. This caused difficulties, especially when they had to work together. Educational differences caused challengesSingaporeans are trained in the art of accumulating facts and knowledge. Americans, on the other hand, are more concerned with creativity, inspiration and innovation.This meant that their mindsets were very different, and they had different priorities in mind when working on the same project.Furthermore, for Singaporeans, English was only their second language. This caused them to be less confident when challenging the ideas of their US counterparts. Last minute relocation caused increase in costsIn early May 1990, HP decided to relocate the Alex project to Vancouver. It was believed that the moving of the development to one single site would accelerate the process and ensure no further delay. However, by September 1990, the Alex project was 18 months behind schedule, and moving to Vancouver had only increased the costs. Hence, the project was cancelled. Recommendations for project capricornturn a disadvantage into an advantage - Work around the clockAsychronous work schedules could be an advantage, as colleagues could work on a given R&D issue around the clock, given a 12 hour time difference. When one group got up in the morning, they could build on the work done while they slept. Diverse cultural backgrounds and work habits could also yield different yet highly complementary skills. Maximising the asian advantageAs Cloutier stated, The logical thing for us to do in Asia was to build printers for Asia. Since the printer will be produced entirely in Singapore, many advantages can be maximised.For instance, the Asian employees would be better able to understand the needs and concerns of Asian users. Furthermore, Singapores position as a financial and economic hub can be maximised and close connections can be built with neighbouring Asian countries, including Japan. Also, Singapore has a highly skilled and literate workforce that can contribute their skills to the R&D, engineering and management departments.Make use of existing technologyUsing the technology already developed for the Thinkjet, with its high resolution capabilities, for printing the complex Japanese characters. Using the mechanical design of the DeskJet, as well as the identical chassis. The outward appearance would be the same as the prototype in the Alex project, only the software and firmware need to be adapted to the Japanese characters.This saves HP time, financial expense, as well as expertise. They can focus on other factors, such as cost reduction and additional features in order to increase the competitiveness of their product. Using aggressive advertising to establish a brand nameJapanese customers make purchase decisions based on brand name recognition. Since they are not familiar with HPs brand, they may worry that the company may not be in business in the future.Hence, HP needs to focus on aggressive advertising in order to inform potential Japanese customers that they have been established since 1939 and hence is a reliable brand with a long history. It is also the world's leading PC manufacturer, and has been since 2007. By informing the consumers of the brand history, this helps increase consumer confidence and interest in the product. Advertising the product itself as well as its unique features would also attract consumers.Focusing on product size in the design processAs it has been established that Japanese consumers are particularly concerned with the size of the printer (as office space is sparse and expensive in Japan), HP needs to focus on this aspect of the printer while it is in the design stage.If it is able to develop an efficient printer that is smaller than that of its competitors, it will have a distinct advantage in the Japanese market.