THE SOUND OF MODULARIZATION
Jabra is a Danish brand specializing in audio equipment and videoconference systems. It is owned by GN Audio, which is part of the Danish company, GN Group. Jabra engineers, manufactures and markets world-class wireless and corded headphones for consumers and business customers.
Jabra speeded up their time-to-market significantly for a new business headset with up to 30 percent, thanks to CPC’s approach. Unique visual overviews of a product family identified the design options early in the process and strengthened the dialogue between R&D and marketing.
The meeting rooms at the global headset producer, Jabra, were literally covered with roadmaps, so it was easy to see that CPC had helped the company to launch several varieties of a new business headset quickly and efficiently.
The large posters on the walls illustrated the ongoing decisions concerning which components of the headsets that should be similar and which should be differentiated in order to both reduce cost and meet the requirements of the market. According to Jabra’s VP of Technology at the time of the project, Tomasz Goldman, the visualization was the key to the process of modularization.
“CPC’s approach is very different from the long texts and documents we normally use at this stage of development. Their visual method clarifies the overall requirement specification in a new and innovative way which clearly illustrates what you are talking about. It sharpens the dialogue across the company and leads to faster decisions regarding new solutions re-using several components, ultimately leading to economies of scale benefits,” Tomasz Goldman says.
SIMPLE BUT COMPLEX MAPS
Already on day one, the CPC consultants decomposed a traditional headset along with Jabra’s engineers in order to get the terminology right, understand the functionality and draw the first sketches of the roadmaps, the backbone of the project.
The roadmaps were used in every weekly meeting afterwards within R&D and marketing and both departments together. It looked like a relatively simple visualization, but held great complexity.
“The simplicity is the point. It is vital to make a modular roadmap appear simple, while making sure it captures the essential inclusions and exclusions that defines it. It should be manageable without too many technical details to structure a meeting so different professions understand each other. Modular roadmaps are a cross-disciplinary approach to balance market requirements with engineering opportunities and production constraints,” CPC consultant Christian Lindschou Hansen says.
GREATER GAIN THAN SAVING TIME
In the time between the meetings CPC consultants consolidate the decisions taken into a new visual overview and prepare questions for the coming week. The company must continuously be challenged to move forward with the project in order not to waste time repeating previous decisions and discussions.
Jabra appreciated the pulse of CPC’s approach.
“My guess is that we have saved 30 percent of the time, we normally would use in the development phase. But the gain of the cooperation with CPC is actually bigger than the time saved, because it also created a good dialogue across the company,” Tomasz Goldman says.
CPC – CENTER FOR PRODUCT CUSTOMIZATION
CPC have been employed in more than 400 projects across several industries, all of them challenged by developing products adding variance in the program. From headsets with less than 20 components to highly complex wind turbines with more than 40.000 sub-components.
“When you develop one product at a time and then subsequently re-design them according to market demands it becomes expensive and increases your time-to-market,” says Ulf Harlou, CEO of CPC.
“The effect of our platform and architecture projects is that you enable your future possibilities in the first product by taking the modularization into account at the beginning. You simply get more out of your development investment because you use fewer resources per R&D product.”