Today Jaguar Land Rover revealed the all new Range Rover Sport in Manhattan New York. This fabulous vehicle is a terrific example of British Engineering at it’s best. The West Midlands manufacturer goes from strength to strength with double digit sales growth across the globe.
Rumour has it that JLR could sell their entire manufacturing capacity for the new Sport to China alone.
The new Range Rover sport is built to ultimate quality standards and features many examples of innovative design, from the all aluminium body shell (which is half a ton lighter than the previous model saving 15% in fuel) to the class leading infotainment system.
JLR are leading the world in automotive product design and manufacture. Long may it continue.
Scientist’s in California are developing a fantastic new process utilizing revolutionary 3D printing techniques & laboratory grown brain matter.
Dr F Stein describes the process:-
” Human brain matter can be grown quite successfully in the laboratory from stem cells. This process can be accelerated using standard pressure cooking techniques which enables us to grow 1kg of pure brain matter in less than a week. This material is then fed into a 3D printer cartridge. A 3D Cat Scan image of the donors brain is then fed into the 3D printer program & an exact duplicate is then ‘printed’ layer by layer.”
“The next step of the process is to store the donors brain which may then be transplanted into her body at a later date; perhaps at the onset of any sign of brain disease”
This incredible innovation ranks alongside other 3D printing firsts like printing your own house, your own robot or your car.
Even Nokia have got in on the act by releasing templates so you can print your own phone cover.
One of the most difficult choices in New Product Development is in deciding what products to develop !
Lot’s of us watch “Dragons Den” on TV and it’s pretty obvious some of the budding entrepreneurs believe they have a great idea but have never even considered asking their customers or potential customers what they think.
To avoid wasting millions of dollars on products no one wants it is essential to listen to the Voice Of the Customer. (VOC)
Companies involved in New Product Development & Innovation need to establish effective methods to capture VOC.
This can take many different forms such as surveys, telephone conversations, face to face interviews, feedback forms, Social Media strategies etc etc etc
Whichever mix is used the information then has to be filtered and sorted to identify priorities for New Product Development. To do this effectively it is essential to have a multi-functional team involved to get a number of perspectives.
If you are involved in Innovation you need to capture the VOC.
According to new research published today by Allianz Insurance, some 83% of UK managers rank Innovation as the key to their organization performing strongly.
However, despite the fact most leaders are fully aware of the benefits of innovation, the ongoing challenging economic environment has caused many to opt out of such projects in recent months.
For instance, 23% of the 500 respondents noted that the economic slump has pushed innovation further down their list of business priorities, with issues such as a lack of funding and a focus on profits being the main reasons behind this fact.
This approach is not only wrong it is patently short sighted. Innovating value added products or services is the only way to ensure long term survival never-mind success. Long-term it is not possible for organizations to compete purely on cost. Globalization ensures that whenever you compete purely on cost, someone, somewhere will be able to undermine your cost base and do it cheaper. The only way to compete successfully, particularly in the West, is to produce differentiated products with high added value, which cannot be easily reproduced elsewhere where labor costs are significantly cheaper.
This requires investment in R & D, training and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Fantastic news today regarding the development of a National Automotive Innovation Campus at the University of Warwick.
Funded jointly by the Government’s U.K Research Investment fund, Tata Motors & Jaguar Land Rover, the centre will cost 92 million pounds.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The UK has world-class companies and great universities. This new investment will get them working together to deliver innovation and growth.”
“The automotive industry in the UK has seen a recent resurgence, but for the UK to remain internationally competitive we must create urgently a critical mass in research excellence,” said WMG chairman and founder Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. “Our vision is to create the National Automotive Innovation Campus where we link people, research and world-leading infrastructure to create and develop novel technologies.
“NAIC will be an ‘engine’ for economic growth, with wide economic benefit, and sustained growth from the creation of world-leading technologies. It will enable academic and industry teams to work together in state of the art buildings, with tailored equipment and digital solutions to create and integrate breakthrough technologies with a whole system approach crossing multiple disciplines.”
This is exactly the type of investment British Science & Engineering has been crying out for & is a terrific example of how collaboration between successful organizations and Government can work together to increase innovation & deliver high value added products along with well paid jobs.
Last week saw a little reported milestone in Automotive history when Californian Governor Jerry Brown signed through legislation to allow fully automated vehicles on California’s roads.
This took place at Google’s ‘Mountainview’ headquarters where the team have been working on a car which utilizes Google’s ‘Street View’ mapping technology, a number of sensors & some clever software to enable the car to navigate without human intervention. The company has already done over 300,000 miles testing with zero collisions so far.
So why is all of this so important ?? As Highways get increasingly congested it has long been a dream to enable convoys of vehicles to travel nose to tail in close proximity in separate lanes, breaking off as necessary, to reach local destinations.
Robot cars may smack of Sci-Fi but this development could herald a massive social change and a glimpse of the future.
The UK automotive industry is set to break its all time production record of 1.92 million cars (set in 1970!!) in 2015. These figures are from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders.
This success is hard won and it has been a long upward climb to return to the heights of the 1970′s. It is hard to believe that UK auto manufacturing then represented approximately a 10% world share. Now it is just over 2%.
A heck of a lot of ground was lost following the 1973 oil crisis and the gradual decline of British Leyland.
Success now depends on innovative Product Design. Take a look at Jaguar Land Rover’s Evoque (see above) which has sold over 100,000 units in it’s first year and has led to 24/7 manufacture at the Halewood plant.
Another great example is BMW’s mini which is turned out at it’s expanded Oxford plant.
Manufacturing in the UK Automotive industry has been revolutionized since the sad days of the 1970′s, much of this led by Nissan in the North East with the adoption of Japanese manufacturing techniques such as LEAN & JIT.
If we can capitalize on current success the UK Automotive industry has a terrific future.
You only have to follow the News to find out who’s suing who in the Intellectual Property wars, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia – they’re all at it – but is the whole intellectual property industry an anachronism of the past ?
Most technical innovation takes place at such a rapid pace, & product life-cycles are so short, by the time the dispute get’s to Court the product is obsolete.
Geography also plays its part with some countries immune to International legislation.
There is also a strong argument that resources currently deployed pursuing & defending IPR could be better & more effectively deployed in innovation itself.
A new sales record of over 314k cars and profits of 1.5 billion GBP illustrate the success of British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and it’s innovative new products including the Range Rover Evoque which is selling like “hot cakes” at the moment particularly in China. In fact Jaguar Land Rover is opening a new dealership in China every week. China sales now represent almost 20% of the companies sales.
There is, however, another less publicised side to this story.
Since 2007 the British Pound has devalued against the Chinese Yuan (or RMB) by a whopping 56% as a direct result of the U.K Governments policy of Quantitative Easing. In March 2009 75 billion pounds was created electronically followed by another 200 billion pounds later that year. Further episodes of Q.E pumped a total of 325 billion pounds into the U.K economy, devaluing the pound & increasing exports.
It also goes a long way to explaining why foreign ownership of London property has increased 20% since 2009 & conversely why imported foodstuffs & other goods now seem outrageously expensive.
Recently released results from Nissan the Japanese automotive manufacturer illustrate how good product design leads to improved financial returns.
Nissan’s Net Profit was up a whopping 7% at 341.43 billion Yen and Turnover was also up 7.2% at 341.43 billion Yen.
This was largely based on sales of the distinctive Quashqai SUV in Europe.
Quashqai’s design team was headed up by Stephane Schwartz who conceived the distinctive ‘bone line’ styling whilst thinking about Lean & Athletic images at his home in London. Nissan’s European design studio was put to work on the Quashqai at its base in Paddington London and the results are reflected in Nissan’s financial performance despite a strong Yen.