South Korean Design and European Taste
Crossing technical borders to find the smartest development solutions
The South Koreans can be proud of themselves – over the last few years, they have succeeded in winning over more and more car buyers, also on the European market. For those on a lower budget, there are a host of features and a long warranty period - arguments that obviously count in the marketplace. However, this does not automatically answer the question as to whether the vehicle's design is also in line with German tastes, as the design lines of European manufacturers which tend towards classical, straight lines, can sometimes differ enormously from those of their Asian competitors.
A question that EDAG's styling experts can help the South Korean automobile manufacturers to answer. The focus of the benchmark project was on interior design: the "European feeling" of every control element, every line, every join and material selection was examined in detail. From the smallest detail to the overall product - only if everything comes together to create a harmonious impression can a vehicle brand have the desired effect on the driver.
A modular system for product designers
The intensive cooperation between the vehicle manufacturer and the EDAG experts produced a very concrete catalogue of items requiring optimisation. The result is a combination of a potential solution and a new challenge. On the one hand, the catalogue serves as a blueprint for the future interior design, but at the same time also shows that there are currently too many design variants across the range of vehicle types. A fact that can lead to excessive costs in the later development and production phases, as every variant needs to be developed and produced in detail. Costs which to begin with are not offset by any added value. In fact, the contrary is the case: if the design varies too greatly, it can weaken the brand appearance of the vehicle. The potential solution that was found in cooperation with the Korean designers is both simple and clever: a modular system such as those already in use for vehicle platforms. Only this time specially adapted to product design requirements, so as to reduce the number of parts on the one hand while on the other hand giving the brand a more distinctive appearance.
With the delivery of the detailed module concept at the latest, the EDAG styling team would have fully completed their project task. But what would we have achieved? What difference would we have made? The practical implementation would still have been far from complete.. The question was, then, how to transfer a design strategy to the developers' world and implement it there.
It is not enough to know that processes look good in a Powerpoint presentation
What paid off at this point was the fact that EDAG not only has a wealth of specialist knowledge, but also recognises interdisciplinary connections. Which means that all-round advice, support and implementation are always provided. Across departmental borders.
For this reason, the EDAG designers brought the in-house consultancy team "Feynsinn" into play. Feynsinn specialise in the optimisation of added value in companies in a variety of different industries, and are always the right address for anyone seeking not just a Powerpoint-based solution, but also expecting processes to deliver what their theoretical promises in practical day-to-day work. To bring the modular system to life within the organisational structure of the customer, the Feynsinn team developed methods and processes to strengthen the reuse of parts (the technical term for this is "common parts").
In the process, the degree of freedom previously enjoyed by the developers was consciously restricted, to reduce the previously predominant diversity of versions at part and component level. Without, however, constricting the creativity of designers and developers - an important aspect of this concept.
The product structure introduced by Feynsinn led to the solution
An abstract product structure was needed. What sounds complicated to begin with is in practice a clever solution: modules, for instance the vehicle's interior trim, are defined only once, put to the test to ensure their reusability, and stored in the structure. This applies to all basic vehicles, or in other words, across the entire vehicle family. If a new vehicle project is started, this structure already contains the majority of the necessary modules, which can be selected and carried over.
Apart from the work processes, it was also necessary to initiate organisational changes, to motivate those concerned to apply the principle of reusability throughout the entire vehicle family. "To this end, during process implementation, we recommended that the customer should install a technical and commercial project management, and also so-called product family supervisors and a central data management system, to guarantee a structured coordination process," explained the leading Feynsinn project manager Rayk Henkelmann. And with regard to the necessary software, Feynsinn were also able to assist with a solution for the data management system. A software tool specially developed for this purpose made the prototyping of the new process possible. Or in other words: the tool helps to test the new processes and put the theoretical concepts into practice. A method that makes it possible to be "up and running in an extremely short time", of this the customer is convinced.
This cooperation with the South Korean manufacturer documents perfectly the integrated approach of which EDAG is so convinced. The know-how benefits the customer way beyond the actual scope. And enables not just good, but better solutions to be found. The market calls it a "fully integrated approach", the competition calls it "implementation skills", EDAG calls it "a matter of course".