Headlamp assemblies would appear to constitute a “mature” product and assembly opportunity. Yet the Wagner Lighting division of Cooper Industries has made innovations across virtually every facet of designing and manufacturing a front lamp assembly. Their new headlamp for Chrysler’s Dakota and Durango models will be a new industry benchmark.
Wagner used proprietary software and rapid prototyping to provide customers with speedy feedback on feasibility and performance, shrinking the time from design to production to 18 months. In addition, the resulting assembly has fewer parts, is lighter, has higher intrinsic quality, is easier to assemble and adjust, and achieves a more accurate fit-and-finish. It does not require horizontal aiming at the assembly stage, and due to other small but clever innovations, it simply does not leak, reducing a major source of warranty claims.
Wagner’s lamp assembly doesn’t feature whiz-bang technical breakthroughs. Rather, their collection of multiple innovations resulted in a superior product that brought significant commercial benefit to them, while exceeding customer performance expectations. The judges hold them up as a demonstration that there is still plenty of room to be innovative even in supposedly “mature” product areas.