The development of smart products and services is pushing classic research and development processes and methods to their throughput limits. Smart methods and technologies can ensure that R&D organisation becomes more responsive, efficient and powerful: they enable comprehensive and early integration of customers into the product development process, thus preventing development failures and reducing risks by ensuring rapid feedback. They help to develop products whose functions are extended by combining hardware, software and networking with other products to make them ‘smart’. And they allow faster and resource-saving new developments and product upgrades – with or without software content.
The setting up of agile, networked and collaborative processes has proven to be particularly successful. For example, development strategies such as minimum viable product (MVP) and minimum viable organisation (MVO) are particularly useful. They aim to radically reduce the use of resources and time needed to develop customer-ready products. Rapid feedback about already realised product ideas and ongoing incremental product expansion using lean development loops replace the typical hierarchical R&D processes relying on the ‘waterfall model’.
A second essential optimisation lever – in addition to time and cost reduction – is the elimination of process steps through the use of digital tools and solutions. These include, for example, the use of smart data analytics, digital twins, or artificial intelligence (AI), with the help of which historical data can also be analysed, forecasts improved, and physical tests can be replaced by simulations. In addition, the use of 3D printing and rapid prototyping allows much faster and more cost-effective concept studies and physical tests than in classical structures.
ROI helps companies to use methodological and technological know-how to develop smart products faster and more cost-effectively and to bring them onto the market in line with customer demand, or redesign classic products according to the principles of smart R&D. The basis for this is our integrated process model which uses agile principles to reconcile development flows in the areas of hardware, firmware and software. The different cycle times of the individual development regions are synchronised, controlled uniformly and integrated. In doing so, we focus on the following topics:
- Efficient coordination of processes, methods and technologies, e.g. through responsive organisational forms and the parallel introduction of change and project management
- Implementation of the principles and methods of agile product development and agile management throughout the development organisation as a function of individual structures and market conditions, cultural particularities, technological and procedural maturity and available resources
- Setting up of agile, vertical R&D organisations to deliver short-cycle, loosely coupled solutions and introduce the necessary system bases such as end-to-end product data management (PDM)
- Shortening the time to market by using virtual prototyping, virtual engineering and simulations
- Comprehensive support in the areas of system engineering and system life cycle management (SysLM), which are of particular importance with regard to the complexity of smart products and services
Transformation through Smart Products Development
A strong development team had solid successes with a manufacturer of household appliances. But now customers want to network kitchen machines, refrigerators and mixers in the "Smart Home". ROI established an "I-Team" with the fresh view of "Digital Natives" and accompanied the internal change.