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Skunkworks Case Study: BMW M GmbH


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A description of Skunkworks, and a study of BMW M GmbH as a case.

Published in: Business, Automotive, Technology
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Skunkworks Case Study: BMW M GmbH

  1. 1. IMEN301: Technology Management and Strategy Skunkworks Group #4 Christina Lehmann Neelotpal Shukla Nijansh Verma
  2. 2. A highly motivated team leader creates a small team with a couple of highly motivated engineers/ designers to create an innovative product/process in a short period of time. The team is taken out of their normal working environment to operate independently of a company's normal R&D operations. The organization of a skunk works project is more flat, goal oriented and with more entrepreneurial zeal.
  3. 3. In order to develop high-speed fighter planet within 180 days, some staff was removed from the corporate bureaucracy and encouraged to ignore standard procedures. Team leader Kelly Johnson rented a big circus tent and set it up next to a noxious plastics factory, whose stench sneaked into the circus tent. Due to that stench, the facility and its works were called “skunk works”. This was so successful that company continued and came up with many innovative products. Skunkworks Logo
  4. 4. + In case of company's resistance for change, skunk works could avoid that great ideas get squashed by standard channels and processes. + Institutions can take risks in a controlled way that do not impact the majority of staff or revenue streams. + The team can think more freely about solutions as it is less likely to feel threatened. + The team is extremely focused on the task and forms a cohesive unit.
  5. 5. - The management’s support might be missing as team leaders tend to take full responsibility. - Due to secrecy, external experts might not be asked risk analysis. - Instead of an independent “facilitator” (leader role for risk management in a product development project), the role is played by the team leader due to secrecy issues. Nevertheless, he might loose objectivity during the decision making process. - Everyone outside the skunk works team is excluded from innovation developments. -It is easier for managers to ignore ideas developed in skunk works as they are not part of the core business.
  6. 6. Jochen Neerpasch, an ex-Porsche works driver and Ford’s Racing Manager, started this team of specialists on 1st May, 1972. This new team was able to move into its own building after just a few months, with the racing workshop and racing engine production shop, tool-making and the engine dynamometer all being installed in the immediate vicinity of BMW’s Munich Plant on a site measuring more than 8,000 square metres in Preussenstrasse. Their first project was a 3,340 cc straight-six with 12 valves, fuel injection and a compression ratio of 11:1 with a maximum output of 360 hp. The model designation of the new car was 3.0 CSL
  8. 8. Plant Zero BMW Skunkworks, Munich • All BMW Manufacturing facilities are numbered. The secret Munich plant is called Plant Zero. • The people are specialized in every aspect of car manufacturing and have an encyclopedic knowledge of BMW cars.
  9. 9. Plant Zero BMW Skunkworks, Munich • The first versions are made by hand here in the experimental vehicle shop. • Rapid Prototyping Centre: Real Working parts out of Aluminum built in 3 days • Along with prototypes of vehicles, prototypes of the way they are to be built are determined and robots programmed accordingly.
  10. 10. Plant Zero BMW Skunkworks, Munich • A dead accurate ‘Zero Vehicle’ is prepared where each part fits exactly the way it is supposed to. • All vehicles are concealed with patterned decals before worldwide testing
  11. 11. Palo Alto (California) Everyone is very broadly briefed: To be creative, to work independently, and to be open to all kinds of influences beyond the realm of automotive engineering. The team mainly focuses its search for solutions for IT-driven markets by making the most of their location, near the Silicon Valley. To sustain the creative momentum, people only stay on the team for a limited time and are replaced regularly. Every three years, new management is appointed to head the Technology Office, and people from the Research and Innovation Center in Munich only come to Palo Alto for between one and three years, depending on the scale of their projects.
  13. 13. The BMW 3.0 CSL. The most successful touring car of its day.
  14. 14. Won the European Championship six times between 1973 and 1979 and dominating the international touring car scene for almost a decade. Pioneer in its colour design, and other significant technical innovations: 1. BMW’s first-ever four-valve six-cylinder. 2. Featured a prototype anti-lock braking system from 1974, long before this innovation became standard technology in the BMW 7 Series. 3. Maximum output of up to 800 hp. The BMW 3.0 CSL. The most successful touring car of its day.
  15. 15. • Focused almost exclusively on the construction of racing cars. - The new BMW 320 continued the outstanding success of the 02 Series. • Customers were also looking for M Power on regular roads - The first “hot” 5 Series came into being from 1974: 530, 533i, 535i. • These cars were superior to their production counterparts not only in terms of their engines, but also in their suspension and brake technology receiving the special attention of the engineers at BMW Motorsport GmbH. • Became the first high-performance four-seaters revolutionizing the world of the sports car through their sophisticated technology. • Initially these were built and sold only in very small numbers, but soon the performance philosophy became increasingly popular. By 1980, 895 units based on the first 5 Series had been purchased.
  16. 16. BMW M1. The big sensation in the world of sports cars
  17. 17. • 1978: First competition car not based on a regular production model. • The price of the 277 hp M1 back in 1978 was exactly DM 100,000, but demand exceeded supply by far. When 130 cars had been completed after one year, there were still more than 300 firm orders waiting to be fulfilled. • Right from the start the M1 was the fastest road-going sports car built in Germany BMW M1. The big sensation in the world of sports cars
  18. 18. • As time passed, BMW M began to supplement BMW's vehicles portfolio with specially modified higher trim models, for which they are now most known by the general public. • These M-badged cars traditionally include modified engines, transmissions, suspensions, interior trims, aerodynamics, and exterior modifications to set them apart from their counterparts. • All M models are tested and tuned at BMW's private facility at the Nürburgring racing circuit in Germany.
  19. 19. BMW M3. The most successful touring car ever.
  20. 20. • 1992: The first M3 powered by a straight-6 engine. The E36 was also one of the first cars BMW designed mainly with computer aid with the use of detailed Finite Element Analysis and other software. • 2000 - The E46 M3 appeared worldwide with the new 3.2 L S54 M-tuned engine. At the time of the car's introduction, this engine had the highest specific output naturally aspirated of any engine ever made by BMW (except in the McLaren F1). BMW M3. The most successful touring car ever.
  21. 21. • 2007: The fourth generation BMW M3 was announced on the 2007 Geneva Motor Show with the BMW M3 concept. It was originally set to be called M4 along with 3 Series coupes and convertibles that were to become the 4 Series, but due to the interest in retaining the M3 line, as well as the plan for a separate 4 series line, this change was scrapped. • 2013: The fifth generation M3 platform structure will be made of steel, with the bonnet and doors from Aluminum.[According to the other news, M3 production is closed and there will be no other M3 Coupe. The next M3 Coupe is called M4. BMW M3. The car of the century.
  22. 22. BMW M5. The fastest sedan.
  23. 23. • 1985: The first BMW M5, based on the E28 5 Series, made its debut at Amsterdam Motor Show and was the fastest production sedan in the world at the time. • The E34 generation of the M5 was produced from September 1988 to 1995. Assembly was done either by a single M employee or a team of M employees and generally took about two weeks. • 2005: The E60 M5 was introduced. As with some of its predecessors, the E60 variant of the M5 was both the quickest and fastest 4-door sedan in the world at the time of its release. BMW M5. The fastest sedan.
  24. 24. • Jeremy Clarkson of BBC television show Top Gear says: "This [The M3] is the best car, and always will be, and there's no point in ever thinking otherwise.“ • Ezra Dyer of Automobile magazine once suggested that " magazines generally regard the M3 the same way a four-year-old regards Santa Claus.“ • Mark Magrath of Edmunds Inside Line wrote these comments after driving a 2009 E90 M3 saloon in the canyons of Southern California: "This is the best most complete car in the world. It's actually a bargain for what you get. Wow."
  25. 25. • Radical innovations done in BMW M cars are ultimately incorporated in all vehicles produced by BMW. • BMW M has a philosophy that "an M car has to be responsive and fundamentally keen on turning as well as accelerating. ”So they are able to strike a very good balance between a track car and an everyday use coupe with powerful engines and racing suspensions being fitted to a car with 4 seats and a sufficiently large boot. • The cars doesn’t produce too much power nor does it produce too much torque but it balances the two very well. The cars are much cheaper and much more practical than other cars/supercars in its category. So they can be easily integrated into the main line of cars sold under the BMW brand.
  26. 26. • • Audi's S and RS models, MercedesBenz's AMG models, and more recently Lexus F model(s), are often reviewed in direct competition to BMW M. BMW M also faces competition from several independent companies offering their own performance versions of BMW models. Such companies include Hamann Motorsport, Alpina, Dinan Cars, AC Schnitzer and Hartge.
  27. 27. M and AMG are similar Skunkworks in BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively but they differ in fundamental ideologies and the technology they develop. BMW M • • • Emphasized tuning only vehicles with "Lateral agility“. BMW M has also never used supercharging or turbocharging. Typically use manuals and semi-automatic transmissions. Mercedes-Benz’s AMG • • • Created high-performance versions of many of its nameplates. Often use supercharging and turbocharging to enhance performance. Largely use automatic transmissions.
  28. 28. • BMW Group Press Releases: – – • • • • • The BMW M Story. 40 Years BMW M GmbH. 16.05.2012 The BMW Group’s Skunkworks in Silicon Valley. 17.12.2008