Diaper Industry

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  • Topic: Diaper, Diapers, Disposable
  • Pages : 39 (11469 words )
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  • Published : April 18, 2013
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Innovation and the Disposable Nappy: From Crappy to Happy

Innovation, Strategy & Entrepreneurship B Professor Ron Adner

Ashley D’Cruz Monisha Dillon Kohei Hamazaki Lynnette Khong Kushagra Sharma Carlos Vilas-Boas

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INDEX

Executive Summary…………………………………………… 3 1. Before the Disposable Diaper……………………………… 4 2. J&J’s Entry - The Failure of First Mover Advantage….... 8 3. P&G – Bridging the Product Adoption Chasm…………... 11 4. 1970 Onwards – Continuous Innovation and Imitation….. 18 5. The Introduction of SAP…………………………………… 25 6. The Disposable Diaper Value Chain………………………. 28 7. Changes in Willingness-To-Pay……………………………. 32 8. Where to from here?……………………………………….. 34 Bibliography……………………………………………………. 38 Appendix A. Technology Evolution of the Diaper…………... 39 Appendix B. Key Events and Players in Diaper History……. 42

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INNOVATION AND THE DISPOSABLE NAPPY: FROM CRAPPY TO HAPPY The disposable diaper may seem like a “low-tech” innovation on the surface. Yet, the contradictory nature of what constitutes a quality diaper makes it a highly complex product. For instance, the diaper must be soft and comfortable, yet it must be strong enough so it does not fall apart when exposed to moisture. It must be tight to avoid leakage, but not excessively tight to cause discomfort. It must be highly absorbent to retain moisture, yet sufficiently dry to avoid rashes. Add to this, the broad range of baby waist sizes and the varying amount of fluid release, and you have a product that embodies a highly complex set of performance requirements. This paper discusses the invention and evolution of the disposable diaper, from its beginnings as a niche, luxury product in the 1940’s, to a mass-market consumable. In particular, we discuss the reasons why it took two decades for the disposable diaper to bridge the product adoption chasm, and specifically the challenges of designing a product that exceeded the performance of the cloth diaper, whilst achieving a cost structure conducive to its function as a disposable product. Finally, we explore the effects that product and process innovation and technology diffusion have had on the basis of competition, industry structure and consumer willingness to pay as the disposable diaper reaches maturity in the US.

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SECTION 1 BEFORE THE DISPOSABLE DIAPER The need for baby diapers dates as far back as the history of mankind. Since ancient times, mothers have used many different methods to diaper their babies. Prior to the mass introduction of the disposable diaper, however, choices were limited and existing materials were less than perfect. The Primitive Years Diapers used in Egyptian and Roman times consisted of milkweed leaf wraps, animal skins, and other creative natural resources. In North America, mothers used milkweed and other plants to pack around their babies before strapping them into a papoose board. Eskimo mothers collected soft moss during the short summer months to line the sealskins used to carry their babies. In Europe, infants were wrapped in swaddling bands – strips of linen or wool that were wrapped tightly around each limb and then crosswise around the body. Later, swaddling cloths were abandoned for intricate miniature renditions of adult clothing, held up with constricting stays. The Cloth Diaper The first recorded use of the cloth diaper was in Europe during the 1500’s. The diapers were squares of cloth that were folded and then tied around the baby’s waist with string. Babies were treated to a fresh diaper once every four days. Dirty diapers were seldom washed; they were typically just left beside the fireplace to dry and then were reused. By the late 1800' infants in Europe and North America were wearing the progenitor s of the modern diaper – thick cotton pads carefully folded and attached with safety pins. Advances in knowledge about bacteria and viruses, led many mothers to The introduction of rubber pants as a regularly wash diapers in boiling...
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