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Innovative technologies

Posted in Posts, and Syllabus Schedule

If I had to pick one overarching lessons we learned at nearly every company that we visited in Detroit, it is the importance of staying ahead of competitors.

At Brose, we learned that as a supplier it is especially important to stay ahead of the competition to reduce the risk of losing market share.

Brose is currently the leading system supplier worldwide for door lift systems and automatic window regulators. During our visit, we not only got the chance to view these two unique technologies, but also got to learn about the design process and the challenges they faced when brainstorming how to implement this technology in cars.

The lift gate systems allow a person to load and unload items from the trunk more efficiently. The system involved a kick to open features, which detects your foot under the rear bumper. At Brose, we learned that not only is this technology difficult to implement, but also it involved many trial and error tests to make it work correctly and only open when your foot is under it, not for example, if a soccer ball that rolls under the car.

Source: <a href=””>Brose product site</a>


  1. oliver

    The gentleman we met at Brose echoed the sentiments of Mr. Tomm. They are in different fields, but both had things to say about sales performance. For Brose 25% is the amount of market share that you need to be a competitive player and for Mr. Tomm the top 12.5% (half of 25%) is what signifies excellence in dealership performance.

    May 14, 2013
  2. gjeong

    It is true that the companies have to be “innovative” to be ahead of competitors. For some companies, however, it is their way of surviving in the market. What I learned from Brose is that they keep on developing technologies to lead the market. After winning the Automotive Innovations Award 2013 and PACE award (ㅑf I remember correctly), they are still thinking about how to improve their technology. I think this shows the optimistic future of the company.

    May 14, 2013
  3. This is quite representative of what is necessary to be profitable as a supplier. OEMs have enough with thinking about safety as a system, and fuel economy and NVH (noise vibration handling) and don’t want to devote resources to the innards of a system. Furthermore, such systems are widely applicable; no OEM can reap all the benefits internally, but it is very, very difficult to convince anothe OEM to buy your technology. More and more, therefore, technology resides in suppliers. To date the OEMs have managed to instill competition, but I think that’s getting harder.

    To parallel Mr. Ruggles’ view of distribution, new cars hold no attraction, it’s just too competitive. In the same way, I find OEMs relatively unattractive; there are too many of them fighting for the same consumer dollar. It’s suppliers such as Brose that I believe will come to constitute the core of the industry, the only firms that can potentially earn positive economic profits – but only as long as they continue to innovate to keep their products from turning into commodities.

    May 15, 2013
  4. gradyb13

    I came away from Brose with the same thoughts as Mary Beth. It is product and nothing else that is going to make or break Brose. Marketing to the public, for example, is next to meaningless when trying to sell something like a lift gate. As far as I am aware, this separates Brose’s industry from many others. Take Apple: it could make up for a less than ideal product by pouring money into advertising the product.

    May 15, 2013
  5. tyler

    For me, innovation is where I think companies like Tower and Brose differ. At Brose, innovation is the lifeblood of the company. Tower, although not “content” to just build the design they are given is certainly not investing in innovation like, say, metalsa or Federal Mogul. Which, because OEM’s expect price reductions every year, strikes me as a bad idea. If all you have to offer is what everyone else can offer, only a dime cheaper, then I see that as a risky strategy.

    May 17, 2013

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