What are the causes and consequences of BMW’s quality problems with newly launched products? What should be done to improve “launch quality”?
BMW made extensive use of computer-aided design and computer simulation before testing by actually sitting in and driving a fully functional vehicle. Prototyping can improve the quality of requirements and specifications provided to developers. Because changes cost exponentially more to implement as they are detected later in development, the early determination of what the user really wants can result in faster and less expensive software. Prototyping requires user involvement and allows them to see and interact with a prototype allowing them to provide better and more complete feedback and specifications. The presence of the prototype being examined by the user prevents many misunderstandings and miscommunications that occur when each side believe the other understands what they said.
There are some problems using prototyping during newly launched products. Current prototypes are geared more towards engineers than customers, as highly skilled workers made the prototypes at the design and engineer center. The current production process was a poor reflection of estimated production rate and product quality. Another consequence of utilizing highly skilled workers affected testing in a negative manner and was possibly a reason for the increased number of defects; thus, customer complaints were at level that was higher than desirable. Also, customers started expecting more due to competitors’ high quality luxury automobiles.
Potential ways to improve launch quality:
BMW should conduct marketing studies to determine what customers expect and want. BMW should then incorporate such expectations and requests in its design phase.
A vehicle under development was divided into 30 major subsystems or modules, such as the cockpit, interior trim, trunk, side doors, rear suspension system, and...
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