The home appliance and household electronics industry is often characterized by exciting and above all complex challenges. This begins on the market side, where it is important to meet specific customer requirements in B2C business. At the same time it is crucial for success to consider the unique characteristics and market power of the retail and wholesale industry (B2B).
Increasingly networked household appliances are also enabling completely new opportunities for the industry to integrate its products into our everyday life and tap additional customer value. The refrigerator that automatically creates the shopping list and sends it to the smartphone, or the washing machine selecting the cheapest electricity plan, are just two examples offering new opportunities on the one hand and challenging manufacturers on the other hand. How can hardware components be integrated into the product architecture? How do you ensure that the entire system can be updated? Which services can be integrated externally? Which new business models can be implemented? These are just some of the questions that pose an increasingly complex problem.
The "smart fridge“. Progressive digitalization and integration into the "smart home" are opening up completely new possibilities for the home appliance industry and at the same time provoking enormous challenges. Manufacturers have to satisfy ever new and regionally different customer requirements and take into account the desire for individualization. The product life cycles of technical platforms are becoming shorter and shorter, but will always exceed those of the inherent software elements. The ability to update and upgrade instantly and over the air becomes mandatory and must meet the requirements of data protection and data security. And all this while complying with ever stricter regulations and guidelines, e.g. for energy consumption. To manage the ever-increasing complexity, integral architectures must be created that comprise all levels of the performance system, from modular products and services to completely new business models and mechanisms for monetization.
Household electronics are being dramatically affected by the digitalization wave. Smart products, voice assistants and connectivity solutions have become an integral part of our lives. This results in a change of usage behavior of customers as well as of the requirements towards the technical solutions in the product and the design of the associated services. Every new device must be able to be integrated into existing digital infrastructures and service offerings with as little effort as possible. This alone represents an enormous challenge for product design, since the life cycles of hardware and software are becoming increasingly different. Managing all requirements jointly and systematically is becoming more and more complex on the one hand and is the key to success on the other hand.
As a market leader in the field of home appliances with an international presence, our customer was faced with the challenge of aligning its product offering with future, sometimes unclear or unknown requirements from a wide variety of markets. In doing so, it was necessary to consider not only the customer's wishes but also the restrictions resulting from existing production resources. In a systematic approach, we identified the requirements for the future product generations in order to define an innovative product portfolio. The main focus was to design the product architectures in such a way that as many different products as possible could be generated at optimal cost from multiple standardized components, while at the same time taking into account existing production requirements.
The result is a modular product system that is highly standardized at its core in order to realize economies of scale, while at the same time enabling a high degree of individualization and digital readiness to meet regional requirements and individual customer needs. The customer stays in focus!
A premium manufacturer for white goods has set itself the goal of building up a harmonized product portfolio and thus improving its market position in the long term. With the help of our holistic approach to Complexity Management, we were able to qualify our customer to achieve this. Using the generic product structure, we were able to show the commonalities between the different series on the one hand and to highlight customer-focused success features for differentiation on the other. To improve the efficiency of product development, agile working methods were established and successfully implemented in the project. This created the basis for future product generations rich in innovation. They will fulfil the promise of quality and technology leadership while at the same time secure profitability.