AB Spotlight: Tharsus

15th September 2021

AB Spotlight: Tharsus

Arca Blanca – the integrated consultancy and data company – has been named as a finalist at the MCA Awards 2021. In this series of short articles, we reflect on our shortlisted nominations.

Few companies can deliver the highly specialised technological solutions that Tharsus deals with on a regular basis. But when the pandemic struck, the robotics specialist was determined to find a way to return UK PLC to work.

A pivot to consumer devices

In a matter of days, it identified and conceptualised a social distancing device, Bump, to help businesses return their staff safely to the workplace.

At the onset of the biggest health crisis in generations, Tharsus knew Bump had huge potential and could play a vital role. Yet, despite its wealth of experience in robotics, it was largely a solution-oriented firm, with limited experience in producing and commercialising consumer devices.

Without this background in taking products to market, Tharsus needed to create a new organisation structure, sales channels and market Bump. Because of the evolving nature of the pandemic, it had an extremely limited timeframe to execute testing and production to meet high, but concentrated demand.

Embracing remote working

Arca Blanca is a consultancy that prides itself on its teamwork and collaborative approach to work. The conditions imposed by the first Covid-19 lockdown required a quick adjustment.

Embracing remote working meant adopting technology to operate at full speed. We integrated our consultants and Tharsus’s staff into a joint team to replicate what it would be like to work on a project before lockdown.

Innovation at warp speed

Production and commercialisation considerations were front and centre. Tharsus needed to deliver Bump within months, an uncommonly tight timeframe for a technological device. Moving too slowly would jeopardise the company’s chances of capturing global market share, especially if it was unable to expand production or fulfilment in time.

Arca Blanca’s extensive experience in new business and operating model definition and implementation proved to be the perfect match for Tharsus in producing Bump. We helped deliver the first product just three months after it was conceptualised.

A new organisation was created to support the sale of Bump to a new market segment in weeks. In addition, a go-to-market strategy was devised, including a rapid partner evaluation process.

Advancing in the face of uncertainty

The project served as a very good exercise in handling uncertainty and ensuring progression when several unknowns exist. Working at warp speed meant there were a lot of uncertainties throughout, with unforeseen questions always around the corner. The technological challenges of Bump meant we had very little clarity of future supply chain constituents. In addition, the reduction of international travel, logistical concerns and supply chain risks that had not been envisaged had to be addressed in short order.

Both sides of the partnership adopted a very pragmatic approach to working. This meant that within an agile construct we were always progressing, despite endless hurdles.

Delivering a launchpad for success

Getting a product from concept to market in only three months is difficult at the best of times, even without the technological complexity of Bump and pandemic-related restrictions. It is a testament to the collaborative approach applied that we were able to ensure success that continues to this day.

As a result, Bump and Tharsus received both large orders and wide praise in the market, with the device being used in workplaces and events such as the London Marathon. It has also opened wider conversations for Tharsus’s business, including creating a launchpad for developing new products in new markets.

Working with Arca Blanca to take Bump to market was an extremely positive experience and we would be delighted to partner with them in the future. Their expertise and how they collaborated in the joint team meant Tharsus could pivot from delivering complex robotic solutions to taking a consumer device to market in just a few months, addressing the crisis of a global pandemic at warp speed. The joint-team approach challenged our thinking and delivered the experience and capability to create a launchpad for more products in the future.

-Brian Palmer, CEO, Tharsus

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