BMW: The 7-Series Project (A)
Explores BMW's decision about how to manufacture prototype vehicles. Historically, BMW's prototypes were handcrafted by highly skilled artisans in the company's shop. A proposal has been made to alter the process so that prototypes are made in a way that can better uncover potential problems that may arise during final production. While the new approach is expected to make production start-up of new models smoother and reduce quality problems, there is some concern within the company that it will lead to less flexibility to change (and improve) designs during the development cycle. Explores different ways of competing on quality in a luxury product segment and how the product development process affects each of these. A second objective is to examine the notion of a prototyping strategy and the role prototyping plays in linking development strategy and manufacturing strategy.