Business musings

Articles and thoughts about cars

31
May
Posted by Matt Stocker, stored in: Business Excellence  Leadership  

 

Cars don’t end up on the scrap heap by accident. The rust that started as a couple of specks over the wheel arches. The chipped windscreen that was never repaired or replaced. The engine that hasn’t been serviced in years.

These cars have owners who, like Penny, decided they’d take what they could get from the car now without thinking about the value it could give them in the future—if they just looked after it a little better.

The decision may not have been a conscious one and the driver was happy as long as the car started each morning and got them to where they needed to be. Until, of course, the occasional cough, splutter and engine complaint turned into a hefty bill from the garage or, at worst, a failure to start every single day! A car that once held value and purpose has suddenly become a car useful only for parts.

The thing is, the organisational equivalent of this is happening up and down the country every single day. These organisations still work. They still start up every morning. But check engine lights are on.

The loss of a long-standing and loyal customer. Failure to win a new contract. High staff turnover or increasing absence.

But the organisation still works, so why should anybody worry?

Companies, management teams, and staff sometimes focus so much on starting the business every morning, they forget the organisation itself needs a little bit of tender loving care.

Gradually, the strength of a business model weakens, the market shifts, the brand becomes outdated, and the proposition gets muddied.

Eventually, a competitor draws alongside your rusty, clunky, unreliable business with their sleek, polished and purring motor, and you realise with horror that you can no longer compete. As they pull away, your organisation is smoked and left for dust.

Although Sheldon is known for his pedanticism, in the case of the check engine light he has a point. Several episodes later, Penny says: “The check engine light is fine. It’s still blinking away. It’s the stupid engine that stopped working! It cost me almost $1,200 to fix it!”

Don’t be Penny within your organisation. Decide to keep up with technology. Ensure your strategy and business model remain effective. Make good use of effective performance measures to spot trouble before it starts. Have a strong vision. Invest in your people. Develop your products, service and brand.

Do this and your organisation will remain competitive for the long haul. The Sheldon’s of this world will never be able to say, “Did you once again ignore your check engine light?” and you will never repeat the immortal words of Penny, “No, Mr. smarty-pants. I ignored the fill gas tank light!”

23
Feb
Posted by Matt Stocker, stored in: Technology & Web  

Traxia EVThe ‘app’ concept continues to gain ground not just within IT but also in industries such as automotive industry.

LSN Global featured the new Trexa ‘car development platform’ – a fully electric vehicle-development platform that provides designers and manufacturers with the capability to design and develop unique designs without incurring the expense of developing new platforms. The resulting ‘app’ designs dock onto the platform and are fully interchangeable (i.e car to van to flatbed).

Key challenge

Whilst this looks like a great idea, I think that the key challenge with this technology will be pricing. It is likely that vehicle ‘apps’ will be produced in fairly low volumes and as a result it may be difficult to achieve the economies of scale needed to bring the price down. This could well mean that the resulting vehicles on sale are actually quite expensive compared to traditional vehicles from the volume vehicle manufacturers, rendering the ‘app’ proposition uncompetitive.

It has often been the case in the past that for ‘interchangeable’ products the resulting ‘options’ are actually just as expensive as buying another, brand new, fully functional product, thus rendering interchangablity as pointless.

So the key to this product’s success?

For those manufacturers already competing effectively in the niche electric vehicle market, this platform could be very good news indeed, resulting in significant R&D savings, access to the latest upgradable technology and a faster, more flexible, product development cycle.

In terms of the ‘interchangeable’ aspect of the vehicles, the keys to success are likely to be innovative, high-quality products, produced using low volume, low cost manufacturing, thereby ensuring that the designers of vehicle ‘apps’ really do have a significant price advantage against main stream solutions.

Would I buy one?

Well, if I could design my own vehicle online that I could fully specify from modular components and that was delivered direct to my door, that would be very cool indeed. However, for me, an Audi R8 or Tessla might be slightly higher up my wishlist!