IHS Customer Recognition (CR): What are the strategic business goals of this organization?
Krishnaswami: One of my clients is a major North American automotive OEM that is facing challenges in the area of fuel efficiency and emissions related both to market needs and compliance, regulatory compliance issues. In particular, a specific challenge that they were facing is related to a 2017 compliance regulation which will require them to improve a specific engine sensor by 6X over current engine sensor performance capabilities in order to meet the compliance regulations. As the lead engineer that our team was working with explained, this is a particularly strategic need, since if they could not develop such a sensor they either have to pay hundreds of dollars per engine produced in compliance costs (which would effectively render production economically unviable), or they would have to outsource production to somebody who had the technology who would then, of course, charge a premium for the capability.
CR: What information challenges does this organization face to achieve its goals?
Krishnaswami: Development engineers in any automotive organization face a number of challenges when they’re trying to develop new and unproven technology. They typically don’t have a lot of time to do fundamental analysis of the problem and additionally, they don’t have the risk appetite to do the analysis, because if you do a detailed analysis, spend the time and come up empty, you’ve spent a lot of time for nothing. Additionally, they also have to look for information outside the automotive industry because they’ve come to the conclusion that the current technology within the automotive industry does not meet their needs. By looking at the technology, the current generation technology, and incremental tweaks to the current generation technology, they came to the conclusion that, at best, they would be able to achieve a 2X improvement, which would be far short of what they would need in order to meet the regulatory compliance needs for the 2017 requirements.
CR: How are they working with IHS to address those challenges?
Krishnaswami: This client worked with our IHS Goldfire services team in order to implement the Goldfire innovation tools and methodologies to meet the developmental challenges for the sensor that they were developing. The Goldfire platform incorporates a number of innovation tools that allow systematic analysis and concept development for challenging problems – and, the Goldfire services team has experts who are experienced in applying research and development techniques and methodologies and facilitating the use of these methodologies, such as design for Six Sigma, lean product development and TRIZ (the acronym for a Russian problem solving technique). In this particular case, our team worked with the engineering team to do a fundamental analysis of the problem and developed a number of design directions in order to meet these challenges.
CR: What results has the organization achieved by working with IHS?
Krishnaswami: The analysis conducted by the team, under the facilitation of the Goldfire Services Team resulted in a number of queries and a number of design development directions that could then be fed into the Goldfire semantic or natural language processing engine to look for solutions. As often happens, this search produced a number of different concepts that were from outside the automotive industry. The Goldfire Services Team then worked with the client team in order to brainstorm modifications and adaptations to these concepts to apply them to the particular challenge that they’re facing. In the final outcome, we were able to help them develop two patentable designs that not only promised to meet their compliance needs, but also give them a potential competitive advantage in the marketplace.
We were able to help them develop two patentable designs that not only promised to meet their compliance needs, but also give them a potential competitive advantage in the marketplace.