Ricardo Strategic Consulting is about to launch its revolutionary virtual consultancy solution – TRNTY (pronounced Trinity) – whose advanced User eXperience (UX) and digital capabilities will assist the company’s clients with finding the most suitable consultants and subject matter experts in a wide range of sectors
On multiple occasions, we have had the privilege to hear a first-hand account of the latest developments at one of the most innovative developers of high-performance engines, transmission systems, and components – Ricardo. This time around, it will be the company’s Strategic Consulting division that will get most of the limelight, as it continues to go from strength to strength, following the diversification the business has undertaken over the past six or seven years to target sectors such as rail, energy, and environmental consulting.
“Strategic Consulting has been a key growth area in the last couple of years along with other divisions such as Performance Products, Defence, and Software,” begins James Passemard, Global Managing Director for Ricardo Strategic Consulting. “We have enjoyed a particularly strong growth in the US and Japan, mainly due to the fact that we managed to understand and address the customer requirements in these regions fairly quickly. I would also highlight our client-centric and pragmatic approach as another important factor to our ongoing success as demonstrated by the high percentage of repeat sales that we have achieved.”
It is in Ricardo’s DNA to seek and embrace the latest technological advances, in order to help clients improve the performance of their own products. To James, however, the ways the company achieves these advances is evolving. “From my perspective, the future opportunities for Ricardo lie in providing increased value to our clients via the digital space and by that, I mean using approaches such as digital twinning, data sciences and machine learning, generative design, and additive manufacturing.”
One of the most exciting ongoing projects for Ricardo Strategic Consulting that reflects James’ vision is the development of the company’s revolutionary virtual agile consulting solution. Drawing inspiration from other industries and trends, and from platforms like Uber and Airbnb, the Managing Director has time and again been impressed with the innovative user experience (UX) features and deployment processes exhibited by disruptive companies of this kind, where independent suppliers of a service or a product are matched with buyers to provide a more efficient and agile solution. It was through studying this model in detail that James came up with the idea of creating Ricardo’s own virtual platform – TRNTY – which, upon its launch, will offer a diverse ‘virtual bench’ of validated, independent consulting and subject matter experts on a global basis.
“This will be a solution that can work across all of Ricardo’s sectors and across the value stream, i.e., from R&D and engineering, to manufacturing and commercial,” James explains. “I can also see it providing a great opportunity for specialist/functional leaders within large OEMs whose sign-off limits restrict their quick access to the right specialist skills and resource, or where longer-term support is required. We have invested heavily in advanced IT and UX capabilities, so we can quickly understand a client’s requirements and provide the ideal solution.”
He continues: “In the event of the ideal consultant not being readily available, we have the tools to source expertise on a global scale and via multiple channels. For example, we could filter the suitability of a candidate based on their language, location, and expertise. We are also introducing a one and two-way video interviewing feature, so that we can make the process super easy regardless of time zone and location for both the consultant and the client.
“From initial customer enquiry we can have a consultant on the ground supporting the client within two weeks. We support both parties throughout the entire deployment via traceable communication and feedback loops. If the client needs a different skill set or support in a different geographical location, we can be agile and swap consultants in and out to meet these requirements, again at pace and at minimum hassle for the client,” James adds.
As there is a certain complexity in the TRNTY platform, it is understandable that its development does not come without its challenges. From an IT perspective, Ricardo Strategic Consulting’s task is to make the solution as seamless as possible, integrating all the different packages and features that go into the system.
James then discusses the unusual position the new business concept occupies in the market: “A new product would normally appeal either to the B2B or B2C field. With TRNTY, we are effectively going after both. We want to appeal to clients (OEMs), which targets the B2B side, and at the same time, to independent consultants, which almost makes the solution a B2C offering. Therefore, we need to take into account the different needs of both markets in developing TRNTY, whilst making sure it is as simple as possible, which is yet another challenge.”
Ricardo Strategic Consulting’s new virtual consultancy is also set to play a huge role in James’ growth strategy over the next three to five years, which projects the division doubling in size. “Much of our focus will be on enhancing our digital presence alongside the traditional consulting services we offer. We are also keen on pushing into new areas such as global mobility and collaborating with other entities within the wider Ricardo Group to create a stronger, combined offering. To give you an example, we are currently partnering with our Performance Products division, whose experience in setting up and optimising our internal niche manufacturing operation and supply chain is being coupled with Strategic Consulting’s Project Management Office (PMO) approach to provide holistic service for our clients. Presently, the collaboration is running very effectively with an electric commercial vehicle start-up.”
Staying alert to the future requirements of its clients, Ricardo Strategic Consulting has identified additive manufacturing as an especially important capability that needs to be part of the business’ skillset. As of late, the company has been doing 3D printing for some of its customers and James feels that, together with generative design and digital twinning, these three techniques will be in great demand in the coming years. “We want to bring them into the mainstream and see the benefit not just in reduced waste throughout the manufacturing process, but also in reduced time, cost, and waste in the associated product development,” he states.
In conclusion, James stresses the importance of transferring best practices from one sector to another, which is a specialism of Ricardo Strategic Consulting that gives it a competitive advantage in the marketplace. “I am always really excited when we get to transfer technologies, methodologies, and processes across transport sector boundaries and infrastructure. We have supported diverse studies into advanced passenger drones. We have also used complex automotive simulation software to help the water industry in its strategic planning for future resilience against the challenges of urban development, population growth, and climate change.
“We will now carry on with our efforts to maximise the positives we have experienced from diversifying into new sectors and making the most of our clients’ emerging industries. Regardless of the sector our customers are manufacturing for, all of the aforementioned developments, with regards to digitalisation and 3D printing, for example, will be relevant to them. Our job is to continue on the innovative trail and discover the proven methods that work in one area and adapt them to another,” he wraps up.
Ricardo Strategic Consulting
Services: Strategic consulting