Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: The Ricardo company

  1. #1
    BMW Rider
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    750

    The Ricardo company

    Don't know if this is the appropriate area for this but given the fact this company designs some engine product for BMW I'm hoping it's a fit here. The company's name was mentioned by another individual in the Wethead recall thread if I'm not mistaken. I was aware of a 3rd party being involved in some of the dual-purpose engine builds I think it was. Similar to the outsourcing of product build within the automotive industry. But I never realized the extent of BMW outsourcing in regards to engine design. Maybe. I actually need to read further to know if this is the case. I just assumed BMW had all the prerequisite skills in-house given the fact they are a global company. But we all know what happens when you assume. Please note I am not saying this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite; a compliment for recognizing your weaknesses and taking action to shore up the weakness.

    Here's a look at this company's page for the Motorcycle Transportation sector:

    http://www.ricardo.com/en-GB/Our-Mar...-Case-Studies/

    I remember years ago (decades?) being very surprised at the amount of outsourcing within the automotive industry. The motorcycle industry doesn't begin to have the quantity nor the quality of professional trade publications that the automotive folks have. I wonder if the very same thing is going on within our industry. Putting many diverse heads together should theoretically mean better product. And, there is no doubt today's product is nothing short of amazing stuff. Across all brands today we have quality that just didn't exist that long ago. It's far more about taking care of your customer today then ever before. We have arrived about as close as you're getting to transportation perfection as you're going to get. How cool is that?

  2. #2
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    1,802
    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    Don't know if this is the appropriate area for this but given the fact this company designs some engine product for BMW I'm hoping it's a fit here. The company's name was mentioned by another individual in the Wethead recall thread if I'm not mistaken. I was aware of a 3rd party being involved in some of the dual-purpose engine builds I think it was. Similar to the outsourcing of product build within the automotive industry. But I never realized the extent of BMW outsourcing in regards to engine design. Maybe. I actually need to read further to know if this is the case. I just assumed BMW had all the prerequisite skills in-house given the fact they are a global company. But we all know what happens when you assume. Please note I am not saying this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite; a compliment for recognizing your weaknesses and taking action to shore up the weakness.

    Here's a look at this company's page for the Motorcycle Transportation sector:

    http://www.ricardo.com/en-GB/Our-Mar...-Case-Studies/

    I remember years ago (decades?) being very surprised at the amount of outsourcing within the automotive industry. The motorcycle industry doesn't begin to have the quantity nor the quality of professional trade publications that the automotive folks have. I wonder if the very same thing is going on within our industry. Putting many diverse heads together should theoretically mean better product. And, there is no doubt today's product is nothing short of amazing stuff. Across all brands today we have quality that just didn't exist that long ago. It's far more about taking care of your customer today then ever before. We have arrived about as close as you're getting to transportation perfection as you're going to get. How cool is that?
    IIRC, a Ricardo USA executive is a member of our community and has offered forum input in the past.

    However, I am a bit surprised by your discovery. BMW is a relatively small company and has used outside vendors for everything from body design (pinanfarina) to engine components (AC Delco in-tank fuel pumps) to suspension (Showa). Back in the 1980's and 90's, the vertically integrated auto companies like GM and Diamler were regarded as dinosaurs by the MBA mentality. Accordingly, management adopted a philosophy of spinning off component divisions (Rochester, AC Delco/Delphi, Saginaw Screw, etc) and outsourcing component fabrication and design to vendors with no alternate customers. It wasn't pretty for those small guys. Research the story of this guy ...Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua.......and you'll get the picture.
    Last edited by 36654; 07-06-2013 at 02:17 PM.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  3. #3
    BMW Rider
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    750
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    IIRC, a Ricardo USA executive is a member of our community and has offered forum input in the past.

    However, I am a bit surprised by your discovery. BMW is a relatively small company and has used outside vendors for everything from body design (pinanfarina) to engine components (AC Delco in-tank fuel pumps) to suspension (Showa). Back in the 1980's and 90's, the vertically integrated auto companies like GM and Diamler were regarded as dinosaurs by the MBA mentality. Accordingly, management adopted a philosophy of spinning off component divisions (Rochester, AC Delco/Delphi, Saginaw Screw, etc) and outsourcing component fabrication and design to vendors with no alternate customers. It wasn't pretty for those small guys. Research the story of this guy ...Jos? Ignacio L?pez de Arriort?a.......and you'll get the picture.
    I am aware of the outside vendors you mentioned. As I stated I was surprised at the possible degree of outsourcing engine design. Like Porsche designed the V-Rod engine. I can understand Harley needing assistance with a totally new engine design but I would have thought BMW had that type of expertise in-house. Maybe due to the size of the motorcycle division they have not dedicated the resources? Maybe most engines are designed by 3rd parties? I don't know. I'm not familiar with the Ricardo name and it's always possible I may have forgotten but I don't recall anyone ever bringing this company up in any discussion, BMW representatives or otherwise. Not saying this is bad. Again, a compliment for recognizing where weaknesses may lie.

    As for component divisions - In all likelihood I don't know enough about this to make an intelligent statement but I seem to recall the OEM's basically forcing the prices on those components to be so low that you couldn't be profitable. And, who knows how many factors are involved in that type of scenario. Long story short a company has certain responsibilities as to containing overhead expense to a reasonable number. 3rd parties forcibly driving the price point to unsustainable levels is typically not beneficial to the customer in the long term. I could be totally off base on this.

    I'm sure 3rd party engine development presents its own issues. I have no clue as to how much 3rd party development goes on but it's fair to say the quality of today's vehicles is top notch.

  4. #4
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    1,802
    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    I have no clue as to how much 3rd party development goes on but it's fair to say the quality of today's vehicles is top notch.
    As a case in point, you might find that Corvette engines are actually a Mercury Marine product in terms of design and build.

    Today's automotive and motorcycle products are high quality, but understanding the value of that industry to a given community is very tricky. Several decades ago, that industry meant good incomes and a diverse level of employment.....janitors to executives. Today, a production site might just be assemblers, a shipping and receiving department and personnel management. Design and planning of critical product lines are tasks typically done at the home office under oversight of senior management. Accordingly, the value of a modern production site has to be framed in the same way we used to consider off-shore production sites for our domestic companies..........a provider of lower cost or market specific products.

    But, as a consumer, you really only care about "bang for the dollar". Which is fine, as long as you have some form of employment which enables you to be a consumer.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  5. #5
    No longer a member here
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,432
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    As a case in point, you might find that Corvette engines are actually a Mercury Marine product in terms of design and build.

    .
    That's only true for about 5,000 Corvette engines and even then only partially correct.
    The 32-valve DOHC engine known as LT-5 in the 1990-1996 Corvette ZR1 was designed by Lotus. It was completely different from the L-98 Chevy small block in the stock Corvette. It was built for Chevrolet by Mercury Marine in Stillwater because of their extensive experience in small volume manufacturing and aluminum machining. The contract was signed for 5,000 inital motors. After the 1990 model year, when Chevrolte sold approx 3,000 ZR-1s, the annual production was limited to 250-300 for the next consecutive 5 years thus not exceeding the 5,000 units contracted for. After that the LT-5 was discontinued.
    Not other Corvette motors ever had any Mercury involvement. They are all based on the good old pushrod V-8 small block.

  6. #6
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,589
    This is the way of the world, and rightfully so. A company finds another that has the expertise and capability of designing and manufacturing a component of higher quality, better design, and at a lower price than could be done in house, passes along specs, then takes the component and uses it to manufacture a product that has higher quality, better design, and because of that is more competitive (aka, better and less expensive to the consumer.). The whole Country is dotted with these small component manufacturers, I stopped in at the Denso plant in Osceola, Arkansas a while back - 225,000 square feet and 450 employees, they supply radiators and HVAC to Toyota, Honda and Catapillar. That is but one of thousands making thousands of things.

    BMW (and Toyota, etc.) knows it makes no sense to invest vast sums of money to develop, patent, and build discrete manufacturing for a component where the final product would end up being just equal to, or more possibly not quite as good, as a component that could be just designed, or design built by a company that does nothing or little more but, that already has invested in and owns the IP, has years of experience and the sophisticated design and build capabilities already in place, and has an experienced workforce hired up and ready to go.
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  7. #7
    BMW Rider
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    750
    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    That's only true for about 5,000 Corvette engines and even then only partially correct.
    The 32-valve DOHC engine known as LT-5 in the 1990-1996 Corvette ZR1 was designed by Lotus. It was completely different from the L-98 Chevy small block in the stock Corvette. It was built for Chevrolet by Mercury Marine in Stillwater because of their extensive experience in small volume manufacturing and aluminum machining. The contract was signed for 5,000 inital motors. After the 1990 model year, when Chevrolte sold approx 3,000 ZR-1s, the annual production was limited to 250-300 for the next consecutive 5 years thus not exceeding the 5,000 units contracted for. After that the LT-5 was discontinued.
    Not other Corvette motors ever had any Mercury involvement. They are all based on the good old pushrod V-8 small block.
    Interesting history.

  8. #8
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    4,867
    It can easily be put to BMW being "busy" with car engines. Lots more economy and emissions regulations coming up fast for cars and likely enough to keep most internal talent busy there.

    Our club has an annual event at Glenwood, NM, and this year a Ricardo employee (friend of a member) attended, as he was out from Michigan to buy an R1200R for sale near Silver City. This to supplement his Airhead ... which I bet doesn't get ridden much after this. He was already raving about the brakes. He got to do AZ 191.

    And, "some engine product" is a bit of an understatement as an accomplishment listed at Ricardo's Wikipedia entry is

    Executing the complete design of the six cylinder motor for the BMW Motorrad K1600GT and K1600GTL, and the design and manufacture of its transmission, under contract to BMW.
    If I were BMW, I'd put more priority on the new boxer in any event.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  9. #9
    No longer a member here
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,432
    Quote Originally Posted by TED View Post
    ). The whole Country is dotted with these small component manufacturers, I stopped in at the Denso plant in Osceola, Arkansas a while back - 225,000 square feet and 450 employees, they supply radiators and HVAC to Toyota, Honda and Catapillar. That is but one of thousands making thousands of things.

    .
    That's sort of funny how you describe this, considering that Denso is one of the largest automotive component manufacturers in the world, definitely THE largest when it comes to vehicle a/c. (Denso, btw, is majority owned by Totyota)
    But in essence that is where the automotive industry has moved to: Parts, modules and systems used in cars are being designed developped and manufactured by suppliers, who are highly specialized. The OEM (vehicle manufacturer) does not have the resources to employ vast departments of engineering specialists to design these systems. Engineers at OEMs are mainly doing product integration and confirmation tests and leave the design to the specialists. Engines are the only area where most OEMs rely on in-house design, but this is going to change also. As it has already in the transmission segment. The fact that Ford and GM collaborate in a joint development program for 10-speed automatic transmissions is a last ditch effort to keep up with the progress the competition has made by letting transmission suppliers design and manufatcure 8- and 9-speed automatics.

  10. #10
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,589
    "small component manufacturering facilities"

    Fixed for posterity's sake
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  11. #11
    Motorsickle Rider brisco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    De Soto, KS
    Posts
    356
    Quote Originally Posted by TED View Post
    "small component manufacturering facilities"

    Fixed for posterity's sake
    Fixed again for ya; "small component manufacturing facilities"
    No "e"
    Kansas. Eleven curves in three hundred eighteen miles...
    '09 R1200RT
    N0PGH
    Iron Butt Assoc. #47865

  12. #12
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    1,802
    So, when the consumer buys a product from company XYZ that's a compendium of parts from suppliers A, B & C does he or she really understand that you're possibly just talking about a variance in QA/QC standards applied to the same product produced on the same assembly line? In addition, when the number of suppliers of a given component become fewer than the number of car companies, doesn't differentiating between car companies become silly?

    Once the market understands that you're just offering a different combination of parts that the other guy could have chosen to purchase, you've pretty lost any brand appeal.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  13. #13
    BMW Rider
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    750
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    So, when the consumer buys a product from company XYZ that's a compendium of parts from suppliers A, B & C does he or she really understand that you're possibly just talking about a variance in QA/QC standards applied to the same product produced on the same assembly line? In addition, when the number of suppliers of a given component become fewer than the number of car companies, doesn't differentiating between car companies become silly?

    Once the market understands that you're just offering a different combination of parts that the other guy could have chosen to purchase, you've pretty lost any brand appeal.
    That's when the magic of marketing takes place. Perceived quality at a different price point with a different corporate name. The human ego is more impressed with the name Audi or Benz or BMW than Chevy, Ford or Chrysler. And that drive to differentiate oneself is worth all kinds of money.

  14. #14
    No longer a member here
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,432
    You guys are basically hitting the nail right on the head. Looks may be the only thing that is really different.

  15. #15
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    1,802
    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    You guys are basically hitting the nail right on the head. Looks may be the only thing that is really different.
    And, thus, why one should not pay one cent more than is necessary at the Hyundai or Kia dealer.........

    Or, conversely, how foolish we must be......
    Last edited by 36654; 07-07-2013 at 10:13 AM.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •