Operations Consulting: Innovation & Engineering

Operations Consulting: Innovation & Engineering


Engineering excellence for profitable growth

Related expertise


The world's most successful companies have one thing in common: They are more innovative than their competitors. And they achieve that status by investing in research and development, partnering with suppliers and industry peers, and operating within ecosystems alongside research institutions and startups.

But all that innovation power is no use in the absence of clarity over which technologies are going to shape whatever industry it is they're operating in. Watching developments like digitalization, electrification, connectivity and artificial intelligence sweep across the economy, we have all seen just how suddenly once-successful products and their providers can disappear from the market.

VR technology in engineering and production
Now more than ever, excellent research, development and engineering are the basis for the future success of your business. You need innovation structures that can bring radical changes.
"Companies that practice innovation excellence can effectively differentiate themselves from their industry peers and increase their value long term."
Portrait of Jochen Gleisberg
Senior Partner
Stuttgart Office, Central Europe

Rising expectations, growing complexity

Which is why it is all the more important to anticipate how your customers' expectations are changing and in what direction their needs are evolving with respect to new products and services. Two trends are already unmistakable today: In the wake of digitalization and new production technologies having accelerated the demand for increasingly customized products, the level of complexity will continue to go up, not down. And the product lifecycle will grow shorter still.

At the same time, the shift from mechanics to mechatronics is shaping the research and development going on in many of the sectors that are so important for economies around the world – with far-reaching consequences for the future of the companies operating in them. SMEs, for example, can barely afford the R&D work for a new engineering "product" – most of which is actually software. Having a command of your own processes is no longer enough. These days, you need to know your end customer's production process, and you need to have knowledge of their tools as well as design expertise in mechanics and in control and drive engineering, and much, much more. The situation is exacerbated by new market players and business models that are ramping up the competition in virtually all industries.

The goal: Technology and innovation leadership

Now more than ever, excellent research, development and engineering are thus the basis for the future success of your business. You need innovation structures that can bring radical changes rather than incremental improvements.

In order to help you achieve this goal, our consulting addresses many different aspects of your innovation process. Better R&D project management, for example, plays a key role in teaching employees new skills and breaking down the silo mentality. Co-development with partners, too, develops new skills, as well as ensuring faster time-to-market for new products and higher returns. Last but not least, shareholders, customers, employees and partners alike love an innovation leader.

Our approach: Comprehensive transformation for higher return on innovation

Our engineering excellence toolkit puts everything in place for a successful and future-proof organization. The whole of our approach, be it to tackle issues around modularization, competencies, make or buy, R&D footprint or project management, is tailored to each client's specific needs.

Our special engineering and innovation audits permit the fast and targeted identification of your most significant deficits and areas for action. And our proven tools "InnoUp – Innovation for Growth" and "InnoEx – Innovation Excellence" transform companies into best-practice innovators.

Moreover, we give our clients access to an extensive ecosystem where companies can find partners for specific technologies, for example. Our clients also have access to the global Roland Berger Expert Network, through which we are able to draw on very specific expertise as required.

Excellence increases corporate value

Seize your opportunity to stand out from industry peers and increase your company's value through engineering and innovation excellence. Let our creative ideas inspire your business, product and service pipeline and encourage your internal and external resources to be a part of the innovation transformation. Our experience shows that it works: Our clients not only record a measurable increase in their R&D and innovation returns, they also enjoy an excellent reputation in their industry as innovation and technology leaders.

Case studies
#1: Engineering excellence for a global automotive supplier

We implemented a holistic engineering excellence program for a global automotive supplier. The key results comprised an approximately 1.5% reduction in the R&D cost ratio, a six-month reduction in time-to-market, and the introduction of a product and innovation centered R&D organization. Key action areas included efficiency and effectiveness in simulation, prototyping and testing, alongside requirements management and variants, as well as lean processes and the R&D footprint.

#2: Strategic product cost optimization for a premium automotive manufacturer

We supported a premium OEM with strategic product cost optimization. Looking at the entire model spectrum, we worked with our client to define savings measures on both the technical and commercial sides across the vehicle electrics/electronics, body, engine and chassis. We employed a wide range of methods, including concept contests, product elimination workshops, specification analyses, value-based featuring and more. In parallel, we optimized requirements management by making the value and cost impact of product features transparent.

#3: Innovation excellence system for a leading industrial company

Our client, a global automotive supplier, found itself having to deal with a very diverse landscape of innovation and R&D processes as a result of numerous mergers and acquisitions that had taken place within the organization. We defined a bespoke innovation excellence system and implemented it for the client, which included the necessary paradigm shift in corporate culture. All innovation dimensions (e.g. strategy, portfolio, financing, ecosystem) were assessed. Results included an innovation balanced scorecard with 15 key performance metrics, a comprehensive innovation manual detailing the new system, and new, close collaboration between internal stakeholders (e.g. Innovation, R&D, Sales, Production) and external stakeholders (customers, expert network).

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