Why to measure anyway? - On the breakthrough of in-line measurement technology in automotive manufacturing

Valtteri Tuominen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This doctoral thesis is about disruptive innovation. It's about understanding the change resistance mechanisms and learning to make a market breakthrough with disruptive technology. This work develops a simple framework for designing the value proposition and market entry strategy for a disruptive innovation. The metrology markets in automotive industry were facing strong disruption between 2006 and 2016. The traditional measurement and quality control methods had become insufficient for controlling the more complex manufacturing processes. Several new measurement technologies were competing to break through to the markets. This doctoral thesis follows the journey of one in-line measurement technology through all the failures and eventual success. Based on the theory of disruptive innovation, this thesis presents a hypothesis of three change resistance mechanisms that need to be addressed simultaneously for the disruptive technology to break through to established markets. The development process of these three "change resistance antidotes" are presented in detail.The first antidote had to counter the tight margins and lack of resources that were preventing mainstream companies from investing to new technology. The first attempts for finding the antidote was about validating accuracy and proving that traditional methods are insufficient for the task. Learning to translate ecological and social impacts of the technology into economic measures was the key for finding the real benefit and solution. Second antidote was a about finding a way to adapt the new technology without assaulting against existing industry structures. This thesis presents the development of the virtual clamp, which converts a traditional mechanical task into a software task. It is a win-win solution that provides clamped measurement results without the downsides of the heavy weight mechanical clamping device. Third antidote counters the lack of pull from existing mainstream customers, which makes new emerging technologies to be unattractive. The development of the measurement-aided welding cell places real-time measurement technology into the very core of manufacturing. This highlights the new technology as the enabling factor for future manufacturing. The hypothesis is further tested in two test cases outside of automotive manufacturing. The positive feedback suggests that the three change resistance antidotes can be used as a practical framework for developing value propositions of disruptive technologies.
Translated title of the contributionWhy to measure anyway? - On the breakthrough of in-line measurement technology in automotive manufacturing
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Haggrén, Henrik, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7685-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7686-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • in-line measurement
  • disruptive technology
  • change resistance
  • market entry


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