Global R&D Network for an Automotive Supplier

Building or expanding a global R&D network in a controlled manner brings new challenges to a lot of companies – as well as to our client, a major German automotive and industrial supplier.

The company

The company is one of Germany's largest automotive and industrial suppliers, possessing three top-performing, global product brands.

The challenge

While building and expanding a global R&D network in a controlled manner, the company has faced new challenges, as many areas of optimization must be considered:

  • Efficient management of the network
  • Access to knowledge that is lacking
  • Access to new personnel markets
  • Clear allocation and bundling of product and technology responsibility
  • Improvement of market proximity or client proximity
  • Better support of production sites or purchasing in countries
  • Establishing engineering service locations in best-cost countries

At the same time, many managers and employees were expressing anxieties over the effects of globalization.

The approach

The network was structured using a company-wide standardized role-based model. Every site received several roles: Individual sites were assigned responsibilities for products, technologies, customers, processes, services, etc. in accordance with its role. Based on this structure, we performed an analysis of the starting situation. By highlighting the most important strategic objectives of the individual business units and comparing these with the starting situation of the global R&D network, we were able to identify weaknesses and gaps and derive targets for different time horizons.

The expansion of the global R&D network is now being managed in an annually rolling process synchronized with business strategy and budgeting processes.

Bottom line – the benefits

  • Clarity about the objectives to be pursued and the status of achieved objectives
  • Transparency of the current R&D footprint