Let the sun shine in! - Analysis and evaluation of new business options for a start-up company from Technische Hochschule Nürnberg GSO

 

Objective and Motivation

Bavarian Optics, located in Nuremberg (www.BavarianOptics.de), is a spin-off company of the Georg-Simon-Ohm University (POF laboratory). It develops and commercializes direct solar radiation based lighting systems.

 Among other key advantages these so-called 'SOLLEKTOR® systems' redirect sun light into any location requiring illumination without consuming or disposing large amounts of energy.

Bavarian Optics faces - as usally every start-up company - the challenge to identify and assess potentially new markets for its new technology.

One major objective was therefore to explore business opportunities fitting the company's strategy, strengths and prerequisites. Focus of the project were already identified business areas of interest, namely lighting of

  •     Shopping malls and retail / fashion stores (non-food)
  •     Food retailers and discounters
  •     Museums, permanent exhibitions and other cultural locations
  •     Trade fairs
  •     Schools, universities and training centres
  •     Hospitals and rehabilitation centres
  •     Breeding facilities (plants, microorganisms, ...), bio-reactors and incubators
  •     Office and manufacturing floors
  •     Tunnels, railway and underground stations
  •     Wellness / spa and relief areas

Apart from aiming on the DACH-region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) students' groups had been allowed to also choose market areas in

  •     Southern Europe
  •     Middle and Near East Region
  •     United States of America
  •     other parts of the world (on request)

 

Project Tasks and Duties

The identified business areas of interest were analysed and evaluated more deeply so that BO could determine priorities on how to proceed on them.

More in detail the individual project groups provided a thorough understanding regarding the following questions and duties (extract):

a. Defining and describing market segments that are associated with the field of application more precisely

b. Making proposals on how sollektor® systems may look like in distinctive market segments and how it may be used by future customers.

c. Determining benefits and value potential customers may have from the Sollektor®-system compared to today's lighting solutions. Which

  •     unique value proposition (UVP) may chosen customer groups have
  •     eventual disadvantages and inconveniences do the face
  •     sustainable competitive advantages (SCA) may arise to Bavarian Optics

a. Who are potential (end) customers for a sollektor® solution?

  • establish a brief profile of typical customers;
  • name and describe the most important potential B-to-B customers (OEM's, retailers, ...)


b. Describe the structure and set-up of market segments:

  • Number and size of potential customers (or distributors)?
  • Local clustering or concentration of customers?
  • Currently used sales channels (PoS) to (final) customers for similar / complementary products?
  • other important elements of the micro- and macro environment belonging to or impacting the market segments.


c. Specify and quantify the market segments potential of sollektor® systems, main components and eventually spare sparts, both in unit and €-volume.

d. What are key drivers for future demand? Are those favoring the application of sollektor® systems or not?

3. Define, scale and weight criteria which enable Bavarian Optics to determine...

a. its competitive strengths within

b. the attractiveness of targeted market segments. Compile your findings into a project portfolio, spanned of the two axes of 'market attractiveness' and 'relative competitive strength'.

i.e. considering relevant aspects on:

a. important requirements that have to respected by a product and service concept from start

b. pricing (ranges for initial pricing, after sales and service pricing, ....)

c. ways of placement / distribution of a sollektor® system and its components.

d. communication, i.e. a possible media-mix during product launch in a segment State briefly on how you would proceed during the roll-out (action plan). 

Make statements on

a. price ranges for sollektor® systems considering the VALUE - COST - PRICE relation

b. Sales revenues

c. Growth profits (margins) 

As a project's major result market segments had been systematically ranked so that the most suitable ones were targeted by Bavarian Optics right after the investigation. Comprehensive information on each potential market has been given, so that selling activities could start upfront after the investigation. Additionally first personal contacts to potential customers have been established by student groups so that Bavarian Optics sales managers could immediately follow-up on these promising business leads. 

Für weitere Informationen wenden Sie sich bitte an: Prof. Dr. Ralph Blum

 

  • Generating and gathering of potentially new applications to the sollektor® system by using creative problem solving techniques, here: Attribute listing
  • Foto: Master students in International Marketing, Prof. Dr. Ralph Blum and Managing Director Alexander Kist in front of the company’s site.

Teilnehmerstimmen

Alexander Kist, Managing Director Bavarian Optics Optik/Elektronik GmbH:

" Ich war sehr beeindruckt von der Herangehensweise und dem großen persönlichen Engagement der Masterstudenten.

Sehr gut hat mir gefallen, dass die Arbeit nicht an der Oberfläche blieb, sondern dass ein weiter Bogen von den ersten Ansätzen bis hin zur umfassenden Analyse gespannt wurde.

Darüber hinaus hat unser auch mögliche neue Geschäftskontakte eröffnet. Eine Weiterentwicklung der bisherigen Ergebnisse wäre meiner Meinung nach wünschenswert, denn es wäre schade, wenn das Erreichte nicht weiter verfolgt werden würde."

Julia Aufurth, Master-Studentin, die mit ihrer Projektgruppe mögliche Anwendungen des Sollektors® im Zielmarkt "Messeanbieter" untersuchte.:

"Eine Projektarbeit bei der ich persönlich alle emotionalen Phasen durchlebt habe. Von erster Unisicherheit in der Herangehensweise an das Projekt bis hin zum Erkennen der Zusammenhänge und Abläufe in der Produkt- und Marktentwicklung beim Launch eines innovativen Produktes.

Für mich war der Lerneffekt sehr groß, vor allem auch durch die praktische Anwendung des erlernten. Sehr stark motiviert haben mich auch die Gespräche mit potentiellen Kunden und deren Interesse an den von uns vorgestellten Sollektor®- Konzepten."