Product Planning techniques: investigating the differences between research trajectories and industry expectations
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According to several literature sources, Product Planning is acknowledged as a primary driver of future commercial success for new designed products, and it is schematically constituted by the identification of business opportunities and the selection of most promising alternatives. Despite the recalled relevance of Product Planning, it emerges that a marginal quantity of companies have adopted formal methods to carry out this task. The paper attempts to provide a major understanding about such a limited implementation of Product Planning techniques and other open issues emerging from the analysis of the literature concerning the initial phases of engineering design cycles. The presented study investigates the claimed benefits of methods described in the literature, the level to which such tools are diffused through educational programs in Technical Institutes, the expectations and the demands of a sample of enterprises with respect to new tools supporting Product Planning. It emerges that, whereas existing methods strive to fulfil relevant properties according to the perception of the companies, limitations come out in terms of the transfer of the proposed techniques and their perceived reliability.