“Platform Thinking”, CEVT and Volvo Cars in Automotive Product Development

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Figure 1: CEVT Volvo “platform” module

Erik Grans is known for introduction of PLM platform in the famous Chinese automotive company - Geely Group’s Sweden based subsidiary - CEVT. The foundations of this company were laid in year 2013 and it aimed to offer product development solutions to auto majors. Their main focus was on building such platforms that could help automotive companies in smooth development of new car models. The project was a huge success which was verified by the rapid expansion of CEVT team from 100 to 1900 employees in just 2 years. The CMA framework adopted by this company is a benchmark of successful innovations in the intensely competitive market of the day.

But, what exactly is this platform meant for and what are its biggest contribution in the success of automotive solutions provided to companies. The company helps its clients achieve "super-rational" production and development processes with patterns that are created within given restriction of "ready" consistent variable geometrics. These platforms are, basically, springboards that play key role in profitable and competitive realization of products. The best example of this conceptual thinking is presented by Volvo cars that adopted a platform strategy in year 1908.

Figure 2: PLM platform by Siemens’ Teamcenter

The base for the new project is derived from the PLM platform which includes CAD designs completed in the Dassault Systemes’ CATIA, configurations and product data will be taken care by KDP solutions, a proprietary of Volvo. The solution platform takes its inspiration from the C3PNG, a decade long legacy from Ford Motors. The system enhanced slowly with addition of new tools that supported simulation-driven product development as well as system-based design.

Employment of platform is never limited to a single firm or project, its progress towards productivity is ensured by multiple sharing with different players. It is the very same objective with which Chinese Geely Holding Group has been developing, manufacturing, and trading its own brands of vehicles all over the world. The CEO of CEVT, Fagerhag, likes to add, “The CMA concept is basically the modularized architecture for these cars. We design, crash test, and test run. Based on the platform, Volvo cars creates the ‘top hat’ - the visual design and the interior - of their cars. We, in case of Geely, also won the contract for the complete design of the Geely cars. In all, we have orders for more than 10 complete Geely models.