Customer Focus in EPS Steering Feel Development 2014-01-0148
The automotive industry is one of the most competitive enterprises in the world. Customers face an ever-expanding number of entries in each market segment vying for their business. Sales price, brand image, marketing, etc. all play a role in purchase decisions, but the factor distinguishing products that consistently perform in the market place is the ability to satisfy the customer.
Steering character plays a critical role in the customer driving experience and can be one of the most heavily debated topics during a new vehicle program. The proliferation of EPS steering systems now allows engineers to calibrate steering feel to almost any desired specification. This raises a key question: What subjective & objective characteristics satisfy customers in a particular market segment? Answering this question requires continued research to develop objective metrics correlated to subjective steering attributes and increased understanding of customer preferences for objective performance parameters.
In five sections, this paper presents a process for developing engineering requirements for steering feel that will achieve customer satisfaction: (1) Defines the elements of a customer focus strategy in product engineering; (2) Discusses the importance of steering feel to the customer; (3) Describes the subjective components of steering feel; (4) Outlines objective tests to quantify the subjective attributes of steering feel; (5) The final section of this paper illustrates an engineered clinic to understand customer preferences, generate loss functions, and develop objective engineering requirements.