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Key to ThinkPad’s success: Its business customers’ success

Anushkar Mohinani | March 8, 2012
In a briefing held in Yokohama, Japan - the new premise of Lenovo’s Yamato Lab - the company’s executives shared details of the ThinkPad notebook PC’s innovation that is driven by its ‘everything is for the customer's success’ principle.

Lenovo has surpassed competitors Dell and Acer to rank second in the PC market and faces the potential of taking the lead position. What has spurred the Chinese PC vendor’s rise to the top of the rankings? The feat, according to the company, lies in its ‘everything is for the customer's success’ principle.

In a recent briefing in Yokohama, Japan - the new premise of Lenovo’s Yamato Lab - Lenovo’s Tetsuya Tagawa shared some examples of the company’s ThinkPad laptop computer’s design evolution strategy that prioritised “the voice of the customer”.

Corporate customers, for instance, pointed out the importance of high security, said the ThinkPad’s manager of standard engineering. Accordingly, as Lenovo continued to innovate the product, it released ThinkPads with enhanced security features, he added.

Lenovo also introduced a thinner and lighter design with improved battery-life so business customers could conveniently bring the ThinkPad devices out of the work place, noted Tagawa.

As part of product’s evolution cycle, the company prioritised usability enhancements. The ThinkPad incorporated a new keyboard layout with larger Escape and Delete keys, enhanced wi-fi connectivity, as well as quieter cooling fans appropriate for the work environment, Tagawa elaborated. 

Technology and quality improvements were also at the top of the list when updating the product. Based on a study conducted by Lenovo, the average repair rate of the ThinkPad dropped by 50 per cent from 2005 to 2010, according to Tagawa.

kong mengKoh Kong Meng, General Manager, ASEAN, Lenovo


Worth the value

In a presentation after the briefing, Lenovo’s general manager of ASEAN, Koh Kong Meng, gave some examples of the specially-designed durability and reliability features of the ThinkPad.

“The ThinkPad roll cage protects system components and the rubber bumper is critical because it absorbs shock on drop for extra data protection,” he pointed out.

“Every little component adds up in cost, but we don’t stinge and compromise on quality,” Koh said. 

“We provide specific designs to the manufactures. Even though it is more expensive to do so, we believe it is important that customers get what they pay for,” he added.

“Apart from the design quality, corporate enterprise consumers value Lenovo’s service and support,” said Koh separately in an interview. ”What these customers also consider when purchasing a notebook is the total cost of ownership, “he noted. “We work with them throughout the lifecycle of the product to make sure that the technology transition is seamless. The upgrading process becomes transparent for the enterprise and this is important in terms of lowering the cost of ownership, “Koh said.

Black for business

Koh said, based on a survey, customers reported that they were satisfied with the black boxy aesthetic of the ThinkPad classic line.

“Enterprise customers, especially, are more conservative when it comes to the aesthetics of devices,” Koh noted.

“Although the ThinkPad edge series experiment with colours to appeal to SMBs who are more consumer-oriented, black is still the core element of the brand,” he said.


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