Page 6: Conclusion
Whipp and Bourne Ltd was able to create and develop the GVR through the skills, expertise and innovation of its engineers. Great engineering lies at the heart of many key innovations and products that have driven this country forward since the days of the industrial revolution.
In 1993, Whipp and Bourne Ltd established a special project team with the task of steering this breakthrough in thinking. The group was supported by development, test and manufacturing personnel. Discrete components in the design were tackled simultaneously by a separate team thus leading to rapid progress. The team also drew upon the expertise of external sources including moulding and materials specialists, tool makers and battery manufacturers. The key personnel were all relatively young but each had considerable engineering expertise and skills. They were:
- Stephen Lane (03/01/57) Engineering Director of Whipp & Bourne Ltd.
- Martin Snell (30/04/56) Chief Projects Engineer, Whipp & Bourne Ltd.
- Alan Shephard (20/07/64) Chief Projects Engineer, Whipp & Bourne Ltd.
The team initially identified and examined the main weaknesses in existing devices. They then identified the main difficulties which needed to be overcome in the design of the revolutionary new device. This meant working with a ‘can do’ approach. For example, the main difficulty which had to be overcome, was to design a mechanism which would power the auto-recloser for a minimum of 10,000 operating cycles, over a period of ten years in extremes of temperatures (+70°C to -40°C) from a cost effective primary battery.
The team members were given freedom and responsibility to deliver the solution and, by adopting a positive approach, ensured the GVR became a major success. This led to high levels of individual satisfaction balanced with rewards of a monetary nature.
This case study shows how FKI was able to ‘build that better mousetrap’ - developing an exciting new product which has created a significant breakthrough in the industry in terms of performance, cost and reliability. FKI succeeded in differentiating the product rather than through discounting the price. This has been the pathway to develop and enhance the long term reputation of the business.