The “Product Mindset” Explores Impact of Consumer and Manufacturer Perceptions on the Building Materials Ecosystem

NORTHBROOK, IL, Feb. 7, 2012 – – A new global study from UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety, reveals that building materials manufacturers believe that product reliability is the key factor in their success, followed by product innovation and product safety.  The new study, “Navigating the Product Mindset,” explores the connections and contradictions between perceptions of consumers and manufacturers on issues of safety, innovation, performance and sustainability. Global perceptions were collected from consumers and manufacturers in China, India, Germany, and the U.S. across industries in high tech, food, building materials, and household chemicals. In addition to the study, UL has created industry-specific reports for High Tech, Household Chemicals, Food and Building Materials.

“UL has worked closely with building materials manufacturers around the globe to help them bring safer products to market faster for more than 100 years,” said Christopher E. Hasbrook, UL Vice President, Buildings, Fire, Life Safety & Security Industries. “Our study shows that building materials manufacturers are very confident in their ability to manage consistent product quality and on-time delivery in their supply chain.  We help them achieve quality and reliability through the knowledge we create together when we leverage our engineering expertise and our globally accepted product safety standards.”

Other key insights from the study include:

  • Product reliability and product safety are the top considerations that impact building materials manufacturers’ abilities to compete in the marketplace.
  • Rising costs and price fluctuations are the biggest supply chain challenge building manufacturers face.
  • Nearly all building materials manufacturers feel their company is ahead of the curve regarding product safety.
  • Building materials manufacturers believe they have the primary responsibility for providing and communicating safety information to consumers.
  • Consumers’ primary safety concerns about building materials relate to toxic emissions and structural safety. Consumers believe the safety of building materials products has improved slightly over the past two years.

Specific findings include:  

  • More than 60 percent of building materials manufacturers believe that the country of origin for raw materials and unassembled components has a substantive impact on product quality. Manufacturers also state they will increase sourcing to new countries over the next five years.
  • Product safety is a key priority for consumers and is considered the most important type of information when evaluating a building materials product like insulation. Sixty-two percent of consumers find it difficult to locate product safety information on building materials products.
  • On average, 71 percent of building manufacturers feel that when they create environmentally friendly products, they are profitable or somewhat profitable.
  • An average of 41 percent of consumers state they are aware of the country of origin for building materials products. This is notably higher among consumers in China and India.
  • Looking a few years into the future, building materials manufacturers say that product innovation will be the consideration most important in impacting their company’s ability to compete (28 percent), followed by product reliability (25 percent) and designing sustainable products (13 percent). Among Chinese manufacturers, innovation is two times more significant than it is for Indian or U.S. manufacturers.
  • 65 percent of manufacturers see themselves as responsible for ensuring the safety of building materials, while only 8 percent see government agencies as most responsible.
  • Consumers in both developed and emerging nations feel that developed countries produce higher quality building materials products. Consumers in China and India rate building materials made in developed countries higher than they do their own. On average, consumers say that building materials quality improves by 41 percent in developed countries vs. emerging countries

To obtain the full study with all key findings, visit: https://www.ul.com/productmindset/download

Methodology

Global quantitative research was conducted by an independent research firm during the Spring, 2011. 1,235 consumers and 1,195 manufacturers in China, Germany, India and the United States were interviewed across an array of topics related to safety, performance, innovation and sustainability.  Manufacturers were selected from the high technology, food, household chemicals and building materials sectors and were interviewed by phone.  Consumers were interviewed through an online survey.