Single Stage Snow Thrower Integration Project
July 21st, 2010:
Just over one year ago the snow thrower Business Unit team was face with a significant challenge relating to our single stage segment offering. Briggs & Stratton yard power Products Group had been working with Limac in China to manufacture our single stage snow throwers for many years as a continuation of the arrangement that was forged with Murray Inc. However, we had several challenges with that scenario. Current products were dated in design, not cost effective and currency exchange rates were fluctuating wildly causing variances to our standard costs. The Model 9 engine that had been used in these designs was being phased out. Lastly, we needed to increase the manufacturing volumes in our domestic finished goods plants to enable better overhead absorption.
Consumer studies performed by our marketing team and the E3 lab with consumers, commercial snow removal companies and general focus groups told us our product was bulky, over-sized and not as efficient at moving snow as our competition.
The result of all of these factors was rolled into a significant 'ground up' product development project. We needed a new engine solution, which with a new snow thrower would improve snow removal performance, give the product a more sleek, modern look and provide a more cost effective solution for both our retail customers and our commercial users.
Since the engine solution was a large part of the development project it was determined that integrating the Engine and yard Power products Groups' development and engineering teams into one project made perfect sense. We could share engineering, design and test/validation resources between our businesses and potentially create a win-win scenario for Briggs & Stratton. A cross-functional team was formed which helped complete the process, start to finish, in just 12 months.
Imagine how much fun it is to be able to create a new product from an analysis of the market and customer needs and expectations?
The look, the features and the pricing are all received very well. We will be positioned in the market as the best performing single stage snow thrower available, with very competitive features and at equal to or better than competitor pricing in the marketplace.
Thanks to the Briggs & Stratton Single Stage Snow Thrower team, both Engine and yard groups. This is one of the best examples of true integration we could imagine and the success over the next show season will prove how the entire company can benefit from working together for one goal.
Written By: Briggs & Stratton Power Pulse
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