Visteon Corp. is using social media-style software to share part designs with potential customers and employees, a process it says will help speed new products to market.
Over the 18 months Visteon needed to develop its new futuristic concept car, the e-Bee, the supplier regularly sent 3D designs of parts to select automotive customers for their feedback, said Tim Yerdon, Visteon's global director of innovation and design.
The sharing was enabled by special software with attributes of social media that allowed the customers, whom Yerdon declined to name, to comment via internal blogs and other secure forums.
The hundreds of Visteon designers and engineers who worked on the e-Bee project likewise used the sharing software to comment regularly on the project's progress, he said.
The sharing saved time and reduced early prototype costs, he said. It also was meant to foster a cooperative culture comfortable with sharing ideas freely with customers. Yerdon said hundreds of Visteon employees worldwide worked on the project.