In the new age of innovation, at the very forefront has been Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Having seen recent demand from the emerging wealthy of foreign markets, and even James Bond himself, JLR’s status as a byword for quality has gathered new momentum in recent years.
Just last month, the automotive announced its best ever September sales performance, shifting 43,181 vehicles – up 17 percent – on the back of a new product ranges including the Range Rover Evoque.
But while such success could easily be equated with the rise of the British automotive industry, it serves as a valuable model for other companies on how to utilise innovation in both technology and consumer needs.
Upon its takeover by Indian parent company TATA in 2008, JLR increased its efforts to develop and advance design and production activities in the UK. Having recently just announced a fresh £1 billion investment which will see the creation of 1,700 jobs in the UK, the lesson for other manufacturers regardless of the sector they serve lies in innovation as a means of creating flexibility.
Its use of advanced, 3D design technology coupled with virtual prototypes to evaluate and assess different scenarios impact on its vehicle designs. This enables the development of car designs that can be quickly adapted to satisfy the rapidly changing demands of the market. It also allows company engineers to make alterations to virtual vehicles and simulate its operation, before components for the physical prototype are manufactured.
At the end of all of this, a product’s time to market is accelerated and builds a competitive edge, having accounted for safety, style, efficiency and performance minus the extensive physical testing.
A demonstration of cost effective efficiency minus the drop in quality.
Creating a manufacturing identity
Given the changes in global business since the recession and sluggish scramble out of it, JLR has carved its own identity: one of a company embracing flexibility, agility and innovation.
Companies such as Toyota, the godfather of lean manufacturing, focused on efficiency and high quality while automotive in countries such as Taiwan and China turned attention to reducing cost and driving time-to-market deficiencies.
Also factored in is increased collaboration, with JLR offering companies in its supply chain the opportunity to offer input on products. Such openness with partners improves transparency, creates an ideas pool and adds depth to the relationship. As a more product knowledgeable and demanding customer base seeks more than just design in their brands, forming a strong identity from a production perspective is very much in vogue.
Utilising data and business analytics
Where JLR particularly excelled in achieving success in new markets was through its effective utilisation of data.
Given the fact modern technology and global supply chains are fuelling accelerated change in dozens of manufacturing industries, JLR saw this through adopting an Enprecis Continuous Quality Insight (CQI) platform, giving it access to an entire database of customer information and feedback.
As the continued surge of mobile and tablet devices takes precedence over every facet of consumer purchasing, allowing vehicle owners in any market to give feedback quickly through any type of mobile device, the customer-centric experience adopted by manufacturers more rapidly since 2008 has been given a ringing endorsement. This is also a point of consideration for manufacturers operating in the high end, luxury goods market aimed at typically demanding consumers.
While a lot can be attributed to the resources and brand prestige of a company like JLR, these points can be applied to any manufacturer within reason.
An emphasis on innovation to either further strengthen or complete rejuvenate an existing product, will very much become the new norm throughout the next decade.