Have you ever had a customer make a complaint, even though you acted according to the customer’s wishes? Have you experienced that information going between departments disappears or is incorrect? Then “The Whispering Game” is the research for you.


Companies are living with the reality that customers are demanding customized products, thus it is necessary to understand what the customer really wants. Customized products are often associated with small batches and the customer orders contain information specific to each order, Customer Order Specific Information (COSI). COSI includes information as to: what, when and where the customer wants its products and services. Capturing these factors can be difficult, since most of the orders are different from each other.

When the information is transferred between individuals, departments or information systems it can easily be distorted, implicitly or explicitly, which resembles the whispering game. When the message reaches its destination, it is often quite different from how it started.

Listen to project leader Jenny Bäckstrand talking about The Whispering Game in the film interview on the right. 


The purpose of this research project is to secure customer satisfaction by developing a structured way of working that supports efficient COSI transfer, both internally and externally. The purpose is fulfilled through three research questions:

  1. How can COSI be captured?
  2. What factors affect the efficiency of the COSI transfer in the customer – focal actor – supplier triad?
  3. How can COSI be efficiently transferred, both internally and externally?

Expected outcome

The expected outcomes of the research project can be summarized in four core areas:

  1. To identify and differentiate COSI.
  2. To analyze and map the order-fulfillment process with focus on COSI.
  3. To reduce the research gap concerning external COSI-transfer for manufacturing companies which need to simultaneously handle multiple manufacturing strategies, and thus improve the prerequisites for procurement and supply management through providing accurate COSI.

To investigate how the alignment of the information system and the company’s strategies affect the COSI transfer.

Collaboration partners

  • Ericsson AB
  • Combitech AB
  • Mastec AB
  • Tranter International AB
  • TMF - Trä och Möbelföretagen AB
  • Dörr & Portbolaget i Vittaryd AB

Project duration and financing

The project will run from April 2017 to March 2020 and is co-funded by the Knowledge Foundation through the research environment SPARK, School of Engineering in Jönköping and collaborative partners.

Contact information

If you would like to know more about the project, please contact the project leader Jenny Bäckstrand, or the co-researchers: Martin Lennartsson, Annika Engström and Nikolas Käkelä.