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Topics: Automotive industry, BMW, General Motors Pages: 6 (872 words) Published: November 7, 2013
BMW AG: The Digital Car Project
BMW AG: The Digital Car Project
Case Study

©2007, Stefan Thomke, All Rights Reserved

Note:
"One time permission to reproduce
The Case text A & B granted by
Harvard Business School Publishing.“
September 25,2008
Thank you
2-4-4
.

MIDTERM – HBS Case Study
BMW AG: The Digital Car Project (A & B)
Individual A i
I di id l Assignment
t
HBS Part A: 9-699-044

21p

and HBS Part B: 9-699-045

3p

Author (s): Stefan Thomke, Ashok Nimgade
Description:
Describes ho the German a tomoti e firm BMW is tr ing to red ce its de elopment time b how
automotive
trying reduce
development
by
half with the aid of computer-aided technologies. To leverage these technologies fully in the very competitive automotive industry, BMW is faced with the challenge of changing its processes and organization, gradually building new development capabilities. This tension between the old and the new is played out in BMW's design area, which has historically been area

responsible for much of BMW's strategic product positioning. Focuses on:
1.
2.
2
3.

Managing automotive development, with an emphasis on exterior styling; New computer-aided technologies and their potential impact on development performance; and The organizational and process changes required to gradually build a firm's development capability.

Subjects Covered:
CAD, CAE,
CAD CAE Organizational change Product Design Product Development Reengineering change,
Design,
Development, Reengineering.
Setting Information:
Germany; Automotive industry; DM 50 billion revenues; 115,000 employees; 1997 2-4-6

BMW AG:
The Digital Car Project
Block 1: BMW’s Product Positioning and Development Process The purpose of this introduction block is to develop an understanding of how BMW competes and why industry dynamics put pressure on it to change how BMW competes and why industry dynamics put pressure on it to change •







Question:  What does the BMW brand and its products stand for?  Question:   What is the role of product development at BMW?  How has it changed over the last twenty years?
Ho has it changed o er the last t ent ears?
Question:  What are the competitive changes in the automotive industry  around 1997 and how does it affect BMW?”
Question: How serious is the new threat from Japanese auto firms?  Should BMW respond at all or are its products in a different  league than the  Japanese and U.S. firms?
Question: How can BMW benefit from shorter development? What are the risks? 

2-4-7

BMW AG:
The Digital Car Project
Block 2: The New Process: Platform or Derivative Project?
a)BMW doesn’t know yet if this new process will work; and that  b) introducing it through its functional managers is going nowhere.  As a result, senior managers decide they have to test it on a real project. •

Question: Which project should senior management test the new process on? The derivative 3-series or the flagship 7-series platform?
37-



Question: What are some of the risks of going with either project?



Question:   Is BMW ready for a 50% cut of development time? Why not 30% or 40%  50%
30% or 40% first? 

2-4-8

BMW AG:
The Digital Car Project
Block 3: Technology Introduction and Integration (B-Case)
(B•

Question: Let me take you to BMW’s design process which is considered  to be one of the most critical steps in their overall development process. b
f h
ii l
i h i
ll d l
As Chris Bangle, what would you recommend with respect to: –



Introducing Computer‐Aided Styling (CAS) tools? 
Significantly reduce the number of clay models to designers?  Or leave the decision to the designers on how to use the tools?



Question:  Does it even make sense for BMW to follow other companies and fully     embrace CAS?  ( Note that a similar question can be raised in the A‐case  discussion:  Should BMW even benchmark itself against other companies   discussion: “Should BMW even...
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