News, views & analysis blogs by: Pete Colan





Subject

Pete Colan :
Pete Colan, who works at Bosch is offering a personal response to the Automotive Industries challenge questions:

If you were to re-engineer a modern-day automotive company, what would you:

1. define as your business
2. do to ensure that Automotive Industries will write about you in another 100 years.



Article:

Pete Colan :
1. define as your business

The nature of any and all business is to serve the interests of its customers. So, in order to define your business, you first have to define your customer. That´s where it gets interesting? Although it´s noble to want to manufacture just economical transportation using a minimum of common, inexpensive, long-lasting parts that won´t go out of style (my personal preference, frankly) perhaps that´s not what the automotive customer wants when he/she visits the showroom. Those of us that seek the most economical means of transportation usually look for the best buy in a used car. So we aren´t the first-tier customer. We´re happy with the leftovers. Look at the consumer trends in the last few decades; in spite of the logic and wisdom of common-sense transportation, it´s the luxury models that sell well, and all the cool gadgets that used to be high-end options years ago are now standard equipment. So I believe the first-tier buyers of personal vehicles are primarily choosing a form of personal expression, with needs and economy taking a distant second. Quality (or the perception of quality) plays a major role but for other reasons; I do not believe most first-tier buyers are truly looking for 200,000 miles of reliable transportation because they really intend to drive their new vehicle purchase that long, but they do want a) not to be bothered with the hassle of breakdowns and dealing with repairs and b) to project a certain image by having chosen a vehicle with a higher quality reputation.

So as a modern-day automotive company, we should define our business by the customer segment we chose to serve, understand their deepest unspoken priorities that drive their buying decisions, serve those priorities and interests to the best of our ability with products and services that have the highest possible perceived value. The mechanics of how our customer gets from point A to point B is defined by the infrastructure of our current society which favors automobiles of a certain size, speed, and performance. Unfortunately we can´t deviate much from the current state of the art simply because of that. I believe as society evolves, so will our our infrastructure as it accommodates changing needs and demands. But as an automotive manufacturer, there´s little we can or should do to redefine transportation.

2. do to ensure that Automotive Industries will write about you in another 100 years.

The automotive company that has a well-defined customer focus now has to design and produce what will serve the customer´s desires using the most efficient materials and processes possible. Most importantly, engineers designing systems and components will have extensive hands-on manufacturing experience. There would be no "throwing the design over the wall" to suppliers and manufacturers; engineers would literally walk their designs completely through the manufacturing process, adjusting design parameters and tolerances to suit available and efficient manufacturing methods, coordinating how tooling design will prioritize the more critical tolerances, compromising design features for the best balance of economy, assembly, aesthetics and customer maintenance. And ultimately, these same engineers would be accountable to the end customer.


























































































































































































































































































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