Auto suppliers have until Aug. 30 to apply for the 2014 Automotive News PACE Awards. The awards, in their 20th year, recognize innovation.
Innovation is as much about managing people as nurturing new engineering ideas.
J Ferron, director of judging for PACE Awards, says success often depends on whether a supplier has what he calls the torchbearer. His or her job is to seek innovations in the company, shepherd them through internal development and communicate effectively with potential customers at automakers.
Ferron says the PACE judges have noticed that:
- Suppliers who cultivate innovation have higher profit margins and greater market penetration.
- Innovation communities of companies, experts and universities can tap deeper pools of talent than solo competitors can.
- Traditional automaker-supplier ties are weakening as digital connections create more opportunities for broad-based communication.
Suppliers that contribute products, processes, material or services directly to the manufacture and sale of cars or trucks are eligible for the PACE Awards. Finalists will be announced Oct. 12. Awards are granted in three areas: products, manufacturing processes and information technology-enabled changes.
Judges will conduct site visits to the finalists to assess the innovation's market impact, technological achievement and impact on the company and its customers.
PACE stands for Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence.