Needs-based development methods for innovation among small- to medium-sized enterprises.

Using SME-tailored development approaches to obtain robust solutions

Initial situation and project objective

Products and production systems come replete with an increasing number of functions, greater connectivity and a rising proportion of electronics and software in components and system solutions. Although this benefits customers in many ways, one example being ease of use, it also places higher demands on design, engineering and development processes. The spiraling complexity of systems and the growing significance of the service business necessitate new approaches in order to ensure that customer requirements continue to be met in the future. Small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular are faced with the challenge of acquiring a holistic understanding of their systems and of bringing greater efficiency to their frequently traditional product development processes.

Solution and customer benefits

Fraunhofer IEM identified suitable systems and service engineering methods which were then optimally combined with and integrated into the existing development processes of the SME RK Rose+Krieger. In an initial step, the parties attended joint workshops to model the company’s service and development sequences and to convey extensive methodical competency to the employees. Particular focus was placed on development work in interdisciplinary teams as a means of promoting a holistic understanding of the system to be developed.

By optimizing the development process from a systems engineering perspective and applying business model methods, Fraunhofer IEM supported RK Rose+Krieger in systematically shifting its current core business toward innovative product-service systems.