- BPW wins in the only competition to honour innovation management
- Dr Markus Kliffken: ‘From industry wake-up call to innovation with a system’
- Creating relevant innovations through development partnership with customers
Wiehl, 2 July 2019 --- Of all German prizes for innovation, the ‘Top 100’ award plays a unique role: it’s the only competition to honour mid-sized businesses for their innovation management. BPW head of development Dr Markus Kliffken explains why he’d like to give the prize awarded by science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar straight back to the commercial vehicle specialists’ customers.
BPW put itself forward as the leading innovator among German mid-sized businesses in 2017 and 2019 – and succeeded each time in style. Yet BPW has won much more than a major prize, explains Dr Markus Kliffken. ‘Two years ago, BPW really shook up the traditional and conservative commercial vehicle industry with innovations in the field of digitisation, e-mobility and connected transport,’ he recalls. ‘We now conduct our innovation management with a system – in close partnership with our customers. This makes our development more relevant and efficient than ever. We dedicate this prize to all our customers, who have helped us to achieve this standard of quality and sense of purpose.’
The development partnership’s innovations include a brand-new trailer disc brake that’s lighter and more compact than the previous generation and constructed from surprisingly few parts – saving on fuel and maintenance. And what’s more, it brakes even better. ‘We take a holistic approach to development,’ explains Dr Kliffken. ‘This helps us boost efficiency, from production and assembly at the vehicle manufacturer to the vehicle operator's operating and maintenance costs. And added efficiency is a boon for the environment, too.’ The brake is produced at a highly automated plant in Bergisches Land (North Rhine-Westphalia).
BPW is also pursuing a holistic approach with its new ‘digital native’ trailer running gear system, enabling innovative digital services throughout its entire life cycle. ‘Each part is calculated and contains digital information about itself. This means that now, for the first time, trailer running gears can be configured online, without requiring the customer to have an engineering degree,’ says Dr Markus Kliffken. Furthermore, this allows BPW to enable vehicle manufacturers to assemble the running gears at their own plant for the first time – saving several days.
And even in maintenance and spare parts supply, BPW Group shows what digital efficiency is all about: garages can identify spare parts using a smartphone, check their availability in a warehouse – also digitised – and reorder them.
Swift success with core products including axles, running gear systems and brakes allows BPW to expand its development in new territory. This has led to products such as the iGurt, a sensor monitoring the truck’s cargo restraints. The multi-award-winning development did not just attract attention from hauliers and insurance companies. Industry experts believe digital cargo restraints are crucial for the increasing automation of transportation.
‘The iGurt is just one example of how we aren’t only expanding what already exists – we can also provide new benefits for transport and logistics,’ says Dr Kliffken. ‘And that is only the beginning. When it comes to method, we’re on top form, highly motivated and have a lot of aces up our sleeve for the future.’
About BPW Bergische Achsen Kommanditgesellschaft
BPW Bergische Achsen Kommanditgesellschaft is the parent company of the BPW Group. With over 1,600 employees, including around 120 trainees, the family-owned company has been developing and producing complete running gear systems for truck trailers and semi-trailers at its headquarters in Wiehl since 1898. BPW’s technologies include axle systems, brake technology, suspension and bearings. BPW’s trailer axles and running gear systems are in use in millions of vehicles around the world. An extensive range of services also offers vehicle manufacturers and operators the ability to increase the efficiency of their production and transport processes. www.bpw.de/en
About the BPW Group
The BPW Group researches, develops and manufactures everything needed to ensure that transport keeps moving and is safe, illuminated, intelligent and digitally connected. With its brands BPW, Ermax, HBN, HESTAL and idem telematics, the company group is a preferred system partner of the commercial vehicle industry around the globe for running gear, brakes, lighting, fasteners and superstructure technology, telematics and other key components for trucks, trailers and buses. The BPW Group offers comprehensive mobility services for transport businesses, ranging from a global service network to spare parts supply and intelligent networking of vehicles, drivers and freight. The owner-operated company group currently employs 7,200 staff in more than 50 countries and achieved consolidated sales of 1.48 billion euros in 2017. www.bpw.de/en