Product Innovation is Key to Extending a Product’s Lifecycle

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: August 22nd, 2011

It’s been over a month since my last post – inexcusable in the world of blogging.  I feel a little guilty about the extended absence so I wanted to write a post that explains the work that has kept me away from the keyboard.

Businesses make profits by selling products and services.  Over time, customers’ needs change and products and services that applied at one time become stale if they do not adapt.

Adapt or Die

For example, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has been around for over 100 years.  100 years ago people did a LOT more baking than they do today.  100 years ago if you wanted bread, you baked it.  Baked goods requie baking soda in many cases, and a LOT of boxes of baking soda were sold as a result.

But in the last 100 years the living standard in the US has increased so sharply that people now buy most of their baked goods at the grocery store.  Most people who still make their own bread do so with pre-packaged mixes and bread machines.  There is not a lot of call these days the use of baking soda for baking.

Yet Arm and Hammer baking soda can be found in every supermarket isle and if you looked in your house, you will probably have a box somewhere.  Their product is still alive today because they INNOVATED and found new applications for baking soda in a modern lifestyle.

Arm and Hammer realized that baking soda absorbed foul odors in the ice boxes and refrigerators.  As a result, more than 100 years later they are selling just as many boxes and you probably have one in your house today.

Changing, improving and finding more applications for your products is critical if you want to remain relevant in a changing world.

Computer Repair Transitioning to the Digital World

Schrock Innovations’ products and services are no different.  Over the past 2 years we have worked to keep our products relevant to our customers’ changing needs.

  • We introduced the Schrock Desk Remote Online Support Service
  • We retooled our Preventative Maintenance Checkup to predicts and minimize repair costs
  • We offered new electronics recycling services to help our customers dispose of their old computers
  • We brought our Website Development division in-house to lay the groundwork for new digital products
  • Schrock started compartmentalizing product responsibilities to specific teams to improve service levels

Meanwhile, we have seen two of our competitors close their doors in an economy that only promises to become more challenging.

The driving motivation for Schrock Innovations over the next 2 years will be to increase the VALUE we are passing to our customers without increasing prices unnecessarily.

This is not a drive that is unique to Schrock Innovations.  For example, while many of Netflix’s customers are upset about a price increase in their service, if you look into the business mechanics of why they did what they did you will see that that price increase will allow them to deliver more than 2x the content they deliver right now at FASTER streaming speeds.  If Google+ is the Facebook killer, Netflix wants to become the cable TV killer.

The Next Generation of Schrock Innovations

With all of that said, Schrock is going to leverage what we are good at – local service and support – and apply our competitive advantage to new products and services.  Our customers are primarily concerned with:

  • Keeping their technology running properly
  • Staying malware and virus free
  • Preventing data loss
  • Buying computers for their VALUE rather than their specifications

The reason Schrock is doing well while some of our competitors are not boils down to one simple difference – innovation.  If a computer repair company’s objective is to fix computers that break or become infected they might do well for a while, but eventually there are only so many broken computers to fix.  Consumers NEED their computer repair company to create new solutions that solve – or prevent – problems.

I have been quiet for a while for a couple reasons:  First, I can’t keep my mouth shut when I am excited about a new product or service.  Second, the amount of planning and execution required to do what Schrock is planning on doing has soaked a TON of my time.

Over the next couple weeks I will let you know what is going on.  Our customers will LOVE it and our competitors will probably hate it 🙂

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