JC Bamford Product Exploration
JC Bamford (JCB), the world’s third largest producer of heavy equipment, opened their North American headquarters in 2000. Upon entering the US market, this British based organization faced challenges by multiple U.S. competitors and burdened with a small market share. Their European designed product was not resonating with the US consumer and needed some fresh thinking.
The Aether leadership and their students worked on multiple projects with JCB to assist in expanding market penetration in the US. Projects included: a deeper understanding of American customers needs; restyling of existing product lines; design for human factors issues; designing for usability and safer operations; examining the application of changing technology; designing for manufacturing efficiency and cost reduction; establishing aesthetic brand identities; and exploring new products for future deployment.
The design teams would spend time in the factory understanding manufacturing capabilities and capacity, research the competitive landscape and the particular needs of American customers, explore designs with the JCB design and engineering teams to ensure fit within product family lines and even spend time using equipment to understand operations, interfaces, human factors, comfort and style. The team tackled nearly the entire JCB North American line including skid steer loaders, backhoes, telescopic handlers, and excavators. Results from the projects are reflected in much of the current product line of JCB North America. Projects often include deep-dive consumer and market research, the development of concepts and full-scale mock-ups and visual models, manufacturing costs analysis and business case studies to prove return on investment. These types of projects genuinely prepare design, engineer and business teams for the challenges of the “real world.” Each project has real deadlines, real problems to solve, realistic budgets and manufacturing constraints to consider and the company CEO to answer watching over progress!