Competitive Benchmarking

Competitive Benchmarking

RSC benchmarks a novel watercraft xEV powertrain for an incumbent competitor

Electrification is impacting the watercraft industry and many start-ups are emerging with innovative applications. RSC assists a Japanese OEM to evaluate a new entrant’s product.


An industry-leading global manufacturer requests Ricardo Strategic Consulting (RSC) to acquire the electric watercraft propulsion system, identify potential suppliers of critical sub-systems, estimate price for components, and provide engineering observations of special features.

RSC gathers extensive experience helping clients in the connected, powertrain, and the energy storage industry and brings it to bear on the targeted propulsion unit to provide this client with key cost and technology insights to be competitive in this segment.


RSC identifies the critical subsystems, the annual production volumes, and expected supply chain to frame this analysis. Subsequently, RSC employs the following methodology:

  • Conduct parametric analysis:  RSC completes a full system teardown to understand and verify the functional parameters of each subsystem. RSC also documents part quantities, dimensions, material used, and attribute sources to the major components. A fully annotated Bill of Material (BoM) is produced to guide further analysis.
  • Estimate component cost by market price and/or should-cost: RSC leverages deep understanding of market dynamics to generate expected market price or utilizes engineering expertise to construct a hypothetical manufacturing process to generate a price through should-cost analysis.  Key components which comprise a large portion of the total cost are estimated through multiple methods to ensure the highest possible accuracy.
  • Identify potential suppliers for subsystems and key components: RSC identifies suppliers through markings, codes, and tell-tale design features.  Suppliers with a known competitive advantage (synergy) in each specific sub-system are contacted for informal quotation. Strategically, suppliers will provide competitive position and improvement opportunities distinguishing world-class competitive position compared to the benchmarked propulsion system.
  • Synthesize, technical review and summarize findings: RSC calculates the overall cost of the propulsion system including fixed cost and product development, identifies representative suppliers and summarizes technical findings.


RSC provides the client with design critique overview of the electric watercraft propulsion system including critical subsystem costs and identifies subsystems that will demand high initial development cost. Finally, RSC suggests typical existing or emerging suppliers with synergies that could provide technology or cost advantages over the benchmarked system.


  • RSC dissects a highly complex xEV watercraft propulsion system, provides the overall cost divided by sub-systems, and identifies representative suppliers
  • RSC identifies critical design features and using extensive xEV development experience, highlights design and cost improvement opportunities
  • RSC pinpoints components that will require significant development resources and suggests to client suppliers which could provide competitive advantages