JMDA in the driver’s seat for new export markets

JMDA is an award-winning design consultancy based in Worcestershire, specialising in child car seat design and development. The company supports brands and manufacturers around the world with development, design engineering and compliance of new car seats. With new models coming to market and countries adopting new regulations, it has to make sure its seats fit and fully comply with various national legislations.

How to design-in excellence

With JMDA increasingly being asked to develop child car seats for a global market, it is crucial that the team has a detailed knowledge of the latest regulations in each of the countries it works in and a specific understanding of market trends.

Christopher Raynor, head of JMDA’s CRS Compatibility Services, said: “Clients expect JMDA, as a specialist in this category, to know these; because the design process and development time can be more than 24 months, we have to understand the situation on the ground to ensure the product design is a success.

“A key element to ensure success is compatibility with the vehicle seat. Since 2008, JMDA has built a unique database of vehicle seating dimensions for 95% of all cars across Europe, and has more recently explored opportunities in China and Japan to build up databases for those markets.”

Its database includes about 1000 cars and it is continually being updated. As the company is now turning its sights to the USA, which has its own child seat regulations, and to the developing markets of South and Central America – most of which are adopting versions of the European regulations that require fitting lists – it has to carry out further on-the-ground research to survey all cars that are not foreign imports or are market specific.

Measure for measure

To obtain the most up-to-date information, JMDA has to travel to its target country and visit vehicle dealers and used car sales rooms to measure the seating – a process that takes between 15 and 30 minutes per vehicle. To help it organise the visits, it hires local specialist service providers and in non-English speaking countries, it also has to hire a translator.

JMDA already works with its local Department of Trade international trade adviser (ITA), which provides support to the company’s exporting programme with specialist advice and assistance. When the company was told that it may be eligible for ERDF funding to help its overseas research into compatibility with child seats and passenger vehicles, it decided to apply.

Funding help for new market research

JMDA was supported in its application and was delighted to receive £3000, a match-funded sum that supported its vehicle compatibility services in research trips to the USA, Brazil and South Korea.

“Having ERDF support is helping JMDA as it offers more services in new markets,” said Christopher. “I’d recommend all expanding international businesses to access this kind of support as it helps to have such funding when researching new markets – the costs involved can seem prohibitive to small firms. Overseas growth is essential to sustained expansion in a globalised world and small companies need to be able to research overseas markets in order to achieve this.”

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