In an era of digital optimisation, including the transformation of the transportation industry generally with technologies like connected and driverless cars, it might come as something of a surprise to learn that the auto industry still uses life-size clay models in the vehicle design process. (At Pickles, we did recently auction a replica Lamborghini, but we have yet to auction a clay model of a vehicle. However, when we do, you can be sure you'll see it on the blog.)
 

(Image credit: Flickr user Iain Farrell)
 
Vehicle design made an all-digital push as 3D modeling technologies matured and manufacturers saw an opportunity to cut costs. However, they learned that removing the clay-model step of the process was resulting in vehicle designs that were ultimately less satisfactory. By not taking a tactile approach, they were missing what they called the 'human element': there was no human interaction and it was difficult to assess the interplay of design elements with the environment.
 
Ultimately, digital techniques have reduced the use of clay by 70% - increasing efficiency, while retaining the human element. It's a good business lesson on the benefit of modernizing your internal processes - something our CIO Claudio Salinas recently discussed with CIO Magazine -  while staying focussed on the hands-on processes that impact your customer experience, and measuring that quantitative and qualitative impact.

04 May