There have been multiple sightings of the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 prototype in the recent past. This shows the extensive testing process that the Chennai-based company follows. So, if the testing of a product is so detailed, you can only imagine how comprehensive the entire process of putting the Meteor and other future bikes into production would be.
Mark Wells, Head of Product Strategy and Industrial Design at Royal Enfield, and Simon Warburton, Head of Product Development, revealed the sheer scale and complexity of how an idea is converted into a final product recently.
Proposals for a new product can originate from customers, sales team, designers, marketing, press and many more sources. All the ideas are entered into a documentation system. Then the senior management team decides which proposals are worth looking into.
“We use a ‘gate’ process for each stage of production, which gives us constant checks that we’re achieving what we set out to, and that we’re making the right decisions. We’re also test-riding designs right through the whole process,” said Wells.
When it comes to designing a new product, Royal Enfield has clearly defined goals that have been put together from an initial idea. “We have the Industrial Design team that makes the 2D and 3D sketches and renders, then we have the Engineering Design team split across chassis, engine and electrical. Within those teams, we’ll have several designers submitting ideas, but once a project is agreed, we’re all working in the same direction,” said Warburton.
The process of finalising whether a new bike will go into production or not involves many teams and departments. Mark said, “The decision really is a team process – my team will look at the features and attributes that are important in any project but will then present it to multiple people across the company. And the board will have to agree to it, so many people are involved.”
Although every project or motorcycle takes different time for completion, for a rough picture, to build a brand-new Royal Enfield motorcycle from scratch with a new engine, it can take up to four years! And as for the investment, such a project would require more than EUR 10 million which converts to INR 82.75 crore.