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Manufacturing Leader Enters New Markets by Accelerating Product Innovation

In this video featuring Jason Sonneborn, Senior Director of IHS Goldfire & Innovation Services, you will hear about an IHS customer who invented a new bottle cap prototype using IHS information, analytics and expertise. Learn how the company quickly leveraged one engineer’s innovative design and retooled its operations to pursue alternative opportunities in a brand new, fast-growth market space.


Interview: Jason Sonneborn, Senior Director, IHS Goldfire & Innovation Services, IHS Product Design

IHS Customer Recognition (CR): What were the organization’s strategic business goals?
Sonneborn: Hi. I’m Jason Sonneborn. I’m a business line leader here at IHS. I work in one of the oldest divisions at IHS - IHS Product Design. The story that I’m going to tell you really takes shape in 2013. And for me, it’s an example of IHS on its best day, because it shows the convergence of three things that IHS can bring to bear – information (part of our core business), as well as systems and analytics, and third, consulting expertise. The client example that I want to share with you touches on all three.

CR: What challenges did this organization face to achieve its goals?
Sonneborn: In 2013, an existing customer of ours—we’ll call it Cap & Company for the point of today—they manufacture bottle caps. The threat the capping company came to us with in 2013 - and in fact, when I was onsite I learned a lot more about it – was that the market for soda had been declining for years. And so this young engineer named Chris, less than 35-year-old guy, (out of) engineering school, had come to us with an idea, he’s a product planner. He came to us with the idea that while that market is declining, he saw huge potential in a new market. He learned that through a potential customer of his – Diageo. Diageo spoke to him about spirits and liquor – a similar example where they need caps, but an example where spirits and liquor is taking off. One of the problems in Asia and the emerging markets like Eastern Europe they were facing was bootlegged liquor. So, believe it or not, as a bartender would finish a pour of Crown Royal, they’d finish that bottle, and they’d turn around and they’d pour bootlegged liquor into that same bottle. Yet the consumer felt that they were drinking the premium brand that Diageo produced. Huge threat to Diageo. Huge opportunity for Chris, the product planner for a capping company to find a potential solution. Chris went back to his offices here at Cap & Company, a great manufacturing company. In fact, I can envision the railroads going through the yards and the production coming off the line. Chris went back, and in fact, as a product planner, he thought, “What can I do to address this?” And that’s when he turned to IHS.

CR: How did this organization work with IHS to address those challenges?
Sonneborn: Through IHS information, IHS consulting, and IHS products, we got to work. The first step in this was to understand the competition. Who is doing what in terms of tamper-proof bottle caps? In fact, we quickly, through the use of IHS Goldfire software, understood the competitive landscape. We looked across the 50 million patents that we had collected globally, and we understood there’s a boom over the last 10 years in terms of this tamper-proof technology. Using the IHS Goldfire software, we understood the IP, the patents and the largest player in the space. We understood the competitor very, very well. The second step was to understand what were the design principles that they were using—what techniques that they were they doing with their caps in terms of the screw or the flange. How did they detect that a bottle had been tampered? We used the IHS Goldfire software again, and we built a function model around what the key design principles were. What was the biggest competitor in this space doing?.

CR: What results did this organization achieve by working with IHS?
Sonneborn: Not only did we look and see what Cap & Company had done in the past – what were the design specs and profiles of the past – maybe there was something good in there, and IHS Goldfire was our single point of access for that, but we were also able to turn to the breadth that IHS brought from industry standards in terms of manufacturing principles, in terms of plastics, design techniques. We were able to look at a breadth of over 100 million documents of applied engineering techniques (companies like McGraw-Hill partner with IHS). Through our single point of access, IHS Goldfire, we looked into those techniques as well. For Chris, that young product planner, that young engineer who had an idea, he was able to then turn to the shop floor. And they started. They didn’t produce it at scale, but he was very quickly able to turn that design idea into a prototype. Twelve months later, Chris had a working prototype that he could take back to Diageo that he was proud of, that he knew didn’t infringe on the biggest competition in the space. He knew it was unique to Cap & Company.

CR: What was the outcome for the engineer and the organization?
Sonneborn: Chris’s outcome was incredible. It was speed to market that was faster than ever before; in fact, in this case, it was speed to prototype. It was the use of a single platform, an IHS platform, to research not only the competition, but research the design principles that he was going to use to build that new working prototype. Chris found that he did that probably 30 percent quicker through the use of IHS software than he would have done on his own. In fact, he’s somewhat legendary around Cap & Company today because he’s able to explain what he did, the new market, and the potential that it has. Cap & Company now has a design, a working prototype, for a new market that it had never entered before. Chris, that young product planner, that engineer, by working with IHS and bringing his skills, they’re able to go back to Diageo and potentially enter a new market. So, it really shows client value and IHS on its best day - the convergence of information, analytics and expertise to reach a client outcome.

It was the use of a single platform, an IHS platform, to research not only the competition, but research the design principles that he was going to use to build that new working prototype. Chris found that he did that probably 30 percent quicker through the use of IHS software than he would have done on his own.

Jason Sonneborn
Senior Director, Goldfire & Innovation Services IHS Product Design

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