With slow growth in its core sector and a technical team overstretched by customising existing products and trouble-shooting, this electric motor company decided to look externally for advice on how to grow.
The company traditionally sold motors to companies that then integrate them into systems. Its growth was slow and it had limited development resources to create new smart products that were better than some of its bigger competitors.
Its technical team were also stretched between new product development and customising current products for customers and technical trouble-shooting. In the short term it had little funds to invest in a larger technology team.
The company manufactured a range of motors for a number of applications and needed a more efficient way of developing its new products without adding to its overheads.
Managing technology was seen as one answer and nu Angle was asked to assist.
Nu Angle’s strategy
Technology platforms technologies cut across products, systems and sometimes business units. Managing technology platforms can provide economies of scale and efficiency in development. The problem is often determining what the platforms are and then prioritising which ones to do first. The implementation also requires a clear view of what the platforms consist of and what capabilities. Implementation inevitably also requires the design a new effective R&D organisation
We therefore worked with the company’s management to:
- identify the important technologies across the business and those that are missing. There were important protectable internal technologies that had current impacton the market (e.g. noise reduction, low power technologies). Some of the technologies were emerging outside the company and some from outside the sector (e.g. new materials, coatings, condition monitoring technologies)
- create clusters of recognisable technology platforms based of common disciplines, equipment and technologies required
- prioritise the platforms based on market demand, degree of complexity/feasibility and degree of performance improvement possible
- create an implementation plan with capabilities required (internal and external) and costs
- proposed options for the R&D organization (internal & external), its scale and scope. This included the structure, reporting and main business processes. It also included main external suppliers of missing technologies not required internally by the company.
The company is now in the process of implementing the recommendations. It is shifting its R&D organisation from a product/discipline structure to a platform structure over the next year. A platform manger is being recruited.