Project Brief: To reduce the manufacturing cost of JCB's skid-steer model line.
JCB came to us because even though they had huge market share over seas they were having trouble cracking the North American market. They decided that they wanted to compete more on price vs their competitors even though JCB is seen as an upper scale offering. Our goal was to reduce the cost while keeping as much of the upscale feel as possible.
First JCB was kind enough to take us through their Savannah Ga factory where the Skid-Steers are produced which allowed us to better understand the process of how they manufacture the machines. We then got a chance to drive a few of the machines to learn the controls and features. JCB also sent us a basic model to use as a reference while designed our work which we ended up covering in sticky notes. We then turned our attention from the machine to the users by sending out surveys and interviewing users to determine which features that they could and could not live without.
At first we were trying to design parts that saved enough material that it would be worth retooling, but then I proposed the idea to design a system of seats and accessories that could be used across all product lines. Not only was this going to vastly reduce tooling costs over time but JCB will be able to buy in bigger bulk and reduce cost of material.
We decided on developing the idea of designing a modular system that can be used across models and products. Since this would require retooling and redesigning most of their products we broke it down into three generations and a time frame in which to implement. The first generation actionable immediately is the frame and base of the design as well as the basic necessary components that most of the machines need. Second generation introduces an updated seat and modular controls for more advanced functions that would be executed within 3-5 years. Then after 10+ years and a third generation the system will allow you to add and update the technology within the skid-steer so instead of retooling the whole system to allow for a new technology you can simply add it on to the modular frame of the seat and the frame of the cab.