Porsche: Workshop of Tomorrow
Bringing design and engineering together.
New innovations in technologies are spurring business opportunities that are changing the future of the automotive industry. For our client to better adapt to these emerging technologies, my team in ID/ME Multidisciplinary Capstone Design studio developed a means of incorporating additive manufacturing and the latest advances in UI/UX. Along the way, we found ways to improve the workflow of the current services system.
* Header image: Porsche Genuine Parts and Enquiry. Digital image. Porsche Centre Hobart. N.p., n.d. Web.
Our client Porsche Cars North America requested the team to design a high-level concept that integrated the emerging technologies in additive manufacturing that would revolutionize how the current services system could operate in the future. Their concerns regarding the current system's workflow were revolved around inefficiencies. For example, finding tools could take upwards of 30 minutes, cutting into the time the technician has to complete the job within the time afforded. They have issues tracking parts and tools as there was no comprehensive catalogue that logged usage data. Forgetful technicians have misplaced thousands of dollars of speciality tools when they switched between jobs. There was an unwillingness to communicate between parts and services across the automotive industry due to their differing agendas.
* Header image: HOK. Porsche HQ Atlanta. Digital image. The Plan. N.p., n.d. Web.
Who will be the most affected by the potential solution?
With the initial context given by the client on mind, we proceeded to investigate the stakeholders within the automotive industry, particularly in the services organization, to further identify the individuals who would be affected by a high-level solution driven by the integration of additive manufacturing. This affinity map has been organized by how the importance of their needs corresponds to their power over the project and their interest in its implementation.
* Red indicates the individuals we interviewed.
Overview: What's wrong with the current system?
Through field research in dealerships and interviews with a handful of stakeholders, we were able to see the user experience issues first-hand and uncover insights affecting those involved in the car repair process.
Porsche drivers have deeper connections with their vehicles and therefore are weary of dealership services, with the cost and lack of personal involvement being their main concerns. They're often left in the dark during the repair process or the deliveries on updates regarding the repair order are delayed.
Service advisors are the customers' first point of contact, putting in repair orders and interfacing with Porsche car owners. From our interviews and observations, their jobs were hindered by the complexities related to sourcing parts and interacting with their coworkers in-dealership. On top of these intricacies, they are under constant pressure to exhibit excellent communication skills as they interface with customers, technicians, and the parts department, and they were often in need to smooth tensions (especially when dealing with a frustrated customer) while striving to have the cars fixed as quickly as possible.
Technicians faced multiple recurring issues and inefficiencies during the repair order process. For instance, parts of poor communications are perpetuated by the "testers," which are used to assess the car; these testers communicate the details in all caps with no punctuation, often making things difficult to interpret and leaving room for mistakes. Technicians are under the pressure of being paid on a flat rate system, shifting the focus from fixing the car perfectly to simply getting the job done in the time allotted. They also expressed their distaste in service advisors as they believed they could get the job done easier and faster if they didn't have to go through them.
Seeing these user experience gripes, our objective was to streamline Porsche's service centers. The initial focus on the integration of additive manufacturing expanded into a more comprehensive and systematic approach, dubbed as the “Workshop of Tomorrow." This approach was to combine the benefits of additive manufacturing in reducing part procurement time and the advantages of mobile device application in reducing in-dealership communication hurdles.
For the mobile device application, the needs for reducing communication hurdles and improving the user experience spawned into design specifications. To acheive these design specs, several necessary heuristic measurements were developed.
Customer's Perspective. The initial prototype for the customer consisted of these features, designed to bring the customer into the repair order process and to keep them better connected to address the transparency issues. The customer would document their issues with their car and schedule an appointment with a service advisor; once the repair order is accepted, they are able to check the progress of their repair order.
Service Advisor & Technician's Perspectives. Service advisors and technicians needed a solution that would ease the stress of having to complete jobs in a certain amount of time, help them find the tools and parts available, and make them become more aware of what goes on between the involved parties. The app incorporates computer algorithms to speed up the process by helping the service advisor with scheduling and organizing and sorting the necessary information based on the repair order. Additionally, both parties will have a more holistic understanding of the progress of the repair order and the status of ordered items.
Usability Testing & Evaluation
To maintain stakeholder engagement, we tested our initial prototypes with car owners, service advisors, and others involved in dealerships. Evaluation methods included qualitative feedback (through commentaries and demos) and quantitative feedback (through ratings). Overall reception was positive - subjects pointed out how the app improved efficiency and communication. Performance parameters like time to complete task and perceived necessity of the task were measured to ensure prototypes met the design specs.
I translated the takeaways from usability testing to further optimize the features, structures, and flow of the UI to better reflect the specs and to create higher-fidelity final prototypes.
Click below to view the prototypes in action.
Imagining the Workshop of Tomorrow
The mobile device app has shown Porsche the different opportunities that additive manufacturing can bring: not only in advancing their technological viability, but in improving the user experience gripes in their current system as well. Being a high-level concept, the final solution may have limitations -d but it has certainly succeeded in painting a concrete picture of what the workshop of tomorrow could look like to our stakeholders.
ID/ME Multidisciplinary Capstone Design
Fall 2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
In collaboration with Kyle Boykin, Brighton Kamen & Peter Khamphouvong