Today's project teams continue to face pressure to deliver increasingly detailed and more efficient engineering solutions that deliver vehicles with features that meet and exceed customer demands for the environment which is today`s market.
Fuel efficiency, the environment, changing technologies, people`s attitudes are all being affected by the need to use what is left of our limited global resources more effectively. Today`s vehicles are already very efficient but we don’t use them very effectively. New vehicles must have features that help users to be effective.
It is these together with many other aspects that now influence the vehicle design and engineering to such an extent that manufacturers are now seeking to put in place working relationships with each other that only a few years ago would have been unthinkable. All this is being done for a very simple reason. To save money.
Car and other vehicle manufacturers can no longer afford to develop every line of technology together with the incumbent systems features for every vehicle in their portfolio and achieve a sufficient volume of sales to make the effort viable so partnerships are now considered the way forward to survive.
Or are they???
The global supply base including component, system, module suppliers and integrators are required to work with the vehicle manufacturers in real time internationally.
You are faced with the challenge of communicating with more people over greater distances with different cultural requirements and varying degrees of understanding. All of these interactions must come together to ensure all the team groups have compatible objectives for successful project delivery.
Customer demands together with environmental considerations are now relentless pressures that are driving the automotive industry to continually re-assess the way in which it operates.
There have always been challenges associated with bringing automotive programmes to completion. The need now to deliver engineering solutions that satisfy the brand requirements of the partner companies means robust planning, project and cultural control has increased greatly.
How does a manufacturer protect one of its brand pillars when technology, fit, function and style are all in a very complex environment?
Perhaps being small is the way forward?
Small and smart!
Maturation of ideas and concepts from `Blue sky` to `Home and dry` (production) sounds simple with the systems and project control tools that are out there for us to use. Indeed many automotive companies have made significant progress in their early concepts to project delivery activities.
Some of the tasks may be considered as being;
Concept, cost, weight, style, objectives, fuel economy targets, planning, test, new or carry over roles, control, electric, environmental, infrastructure, charging, electronic, responsibilities, product engineering, recycling, investments, power train, technology to support hybrid, turbo, petrol, diesel, electric. Test, validation, legal requirements, technology feature, gateways, milestones, scrap, variants, suspensions, NVH, strength, stiffness. etc.
We have to understand that experience plays a huge part in making a success of what we do. Experience brings with it the ability to undertake `Test of reason` development that minimises costly mistakes by taking the wrong long term path.
Having worked in the automotive industry during these times we have seen changes happen but one aspect that remains common is the simple fact that project success relies on the interaction between people to be properly defined in place and working.
We therefore see everyone as a `Customer and a Supplier` during the project.
Whilst the OEM is generically the supplier of vehicles to the customer in the marketplace, each action in the vehicle product cycle is a Customer/Supplier event. Each individual work element requires input from a Supplier and output to a Customer.
These input requirements, processing actions, deliverables and timing need to be fully defined and agreed for the interactions to be successful.
Much of the resource that is used to deliver projects is now contract or temporary and it is critical to have a means to guide these engineers to deliver exactly what is required with minimum waste. One of these means to minimise waste is getting the right level of experience in place when you need it.
In the recent past vehicle manufacturers have made significant changes to the way they conduct their business. In some cases these changes have been necessary just to stay alive. Increasing competition, together with the need to cut out waste, whilst delivering a higher quality product that meets customer expectations now requires companies to constantly re-assess the way they operate. Identifying, developing, validating and rolling out advanced technologies are some of the many challenges that today’s engineering teams have to deal with to be successful.
Success is demanded by the shareholders and therefore the need to grow and protect `Shareholder Value` is paramount. Governments are also putting increasing demands on the automotive companies to reduced dependence on oil and reduce emissions while delivering acceptable vehicles to the market place.
In responding to these challenges vehicle manufacturers are using expert knowledge from outside of their own organisations. The trend in the automotive industry is involving people over a wider geographical area.
We have taken time to understand the key elements that contribute to project success and our business targets the need to get the right skills into your project quickly.
Project support capabilities
The engineering resource that we provide may be supplied as individuals or teams to undertake specific tasks. We currently support:
- Vehicle Body Engineering
- Interior Systems Engineering including instrument panels, consoles and doors
- Concept development and clay support
- Package development and optimisation
- Seat complete engineering including testing
- Composite and light weight Structures
- Power train Systems Engineering
- Chassis Systems Engineering
- Engine Engineering FEAD
- CAE with industry standard software applications. Including Crash, Strength, stiffness, occupant, CFD
- UG, CATIA V5, SDRC- IDEAS,
- Electrical and Electronic Systems Design and Integration
- Embedded control systems development
- Test and Validation
- Project and Programme Management
- Project Planning and control
- Customer and Supplier Interface (battle line) Control
Customer specific support
- Project team support through risk and reward.
- Customer specific flexible resource team.
- Customer specific `Contractor Cost Reduction`. Investment in your business.
- Specific customer focussed training team activities. East meets West.
In general product engineering objectives can be assumed as being;
Develop new models faster, more cost effectively and with ‘right first time’ quality to gain marketing advantage.
Develop core skills to ensure the continuity and enhancement of product attributes. What makes your product a natural choice for the customer?
Obtain efficiencies from smart resource usage, partnerships to gain access to platforms and or technology. Utilise system module suppliers together with technology partners to achieve those objectives with maximum efficiency.
Vehicle Projects – Will therefore be a `Fast Track` Application engineering – of style, feature, technology, platform and module concepts into short lead time vehicle projects with minimum risk.
Grafton Consulting recognises that today's projects need to be resourced quickly and executed efficiently.
Contract engineering resource plays an important role in our industry and offers flexibility and technical capability that otherwise could be difficult to obtain within the time available.
GCL has given considerable time to understanding the sector it serves. It continues to work with its customers, improving and developing its ability to support increasingly complex engineering activities with high calibre individual engineers and engineering teams.
We have 20+ years of experience in providing engineering teams. Contracts and processes are an integral part of daily practice and routines that require the power of people to make them work.
GCL's commitment to delivering innovative business solutions is proven. A strong, forward-thinking leadership team ensures we will be ready and able to support your needs.
We understand the diversity and complexity of the challenges that you are facing.
Mainstream volume and lifetime are reducing whilst niche volume is increasing. Fast track vehicle programmes that are delivered on time and within budget are essential. Over time the demands on these fast track projects will continue to increase.
Our objective is therefore to support your project in a manner that best fits your operational demands by supplying appropriately skilled and experienced individuals into your team.