AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Faurecia, the sixth-largest global automotive supplier, has been recognized for its sustained and quantifiable innovation success by the Product Development & Management Association. The PDMA named Faurecia an Outstanding Corporate Innovator during a celebration of the OCI's 25th anniversary held at the PDMA's 36th annual global conference Oct. 20-24 in Orlando, Fla.
The award, shared only by the most renowned innovators in such fields as computer technology, materials science, automotive, healthcare and consumer products, specifically acknowledged Faurecia's innovation process, which spots emerging trends both within and outside the automotive arena and develops technology that transforms trending ideas into products. The process is designed for collaboration with technology start-up firms and established technology companies to capitalize on consumer needs and interests and to attract the best talent from the technology realm to innovate for automakers all across the globe.
The PDMA selected Faurecia after a rigorous nine-month examination of the company's processes and products. The association's study focused on the activities of Faurecia's "xWorks" innovation incubator in Holland, Mich., one of the company's dedicated centers that conceptualize automotive seating products. The team and its process have developed such products as SmartFit, a system that enables drivers and occupants to use their smartphones to automatically adjust their vehicle seats to the best position for their own body. Another innovation that was developed using the Faurecia methodology is the Performance Seat, a unique dynamic comfort system and composite back technology to create a comfortable, attractive, safe seating system that is 30 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than conventional seats.
While Faurecia engaged the PDMA Outstanding Corporate Innovator (OCI) Committee with its seating innovations, the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award recognizes the innovation process that Faurecia employs across all the company's product groups, including Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. The committee indicated particular interest in top management's direct engagement in the innovation process and the way that Faurecia's innovation has translated directly into commercial activity.
"Faurecia is focused on open innovation," said Rob Huber, vice president of innovation for Faurecia North America. "We're constantly looking outside the company and the industry to find the best ideas that can move our industry forward in such arenas as light-weighting, passenger wellness and comfort, premium features and other critical trends. We're set up to work actively with people outside the company to translate these concepts into real products."
Recipients of the innovator award were required to demonstrate a sustained record of success in launching new products or services over a five-year period, significant and quantifiable business results delivered by new products or services, consistent use of a set of teachable new-product development practices and distinctive innovative organizational characteristics.
The PDMA committee indicated five areas where Faurecia's innovation process excelled, including management participation and commitment, trend analysis and ignition workshops, dedicated xWorks think tanks, frugal and fast 3D prototyping and innovation as a driver of sales and new business.
In advising Faurecia of its selection for the award, PDMA Committee Chair Sally E. Kay told Faurecia, "The OCI Committee was impressed with Faurecia's commitment to a strategy of creating value and changing industry dynamics through innovation." She further noted that a key factor in the selection of Faurecia was the xWorks innovation group, which has established a novel and proven end capability that integrates trend identification, opportunity space exploration, robust open innovation networks and rapid prototyping.
At the PDMA ceremony, Outstanding Corporate Innovator Awards were also presented to Clorox and Skyline Exhibits. Past recipients have included such organizations as the Air Force Research Laboratory, Apple, Corning, DuPont, FedEx, Herman Miller, Hewlett Packard, Pepsi-Cola, UnitedHealth Group, and Xerox.
The Product Development and Management Association (www.pdma.org), a non-profit association, is the premier global advocate for product development and management professionals, accelerating the contribution that innovation makes to the economic and professional growth of people, businesses and societies around the world.
Faurecia is the world's sixth largest automotive supplier with four key Business Groups: Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. In 2011, the Group posted total sales of $22.5 billion. The company is headquartered in Nanterre, France, with its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. It employs 84,000 people in 36 countries at 270 sites and 40 R&D centers. Faurecia is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange. For more information, visit: www.faurecia.com
Faurecia North America had sales of $4.8 billion in 2011. The Group has 37 production sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and employs more than 17,000 people in the region. It has five technical and development centers, situated in Auburn Hills, Holland and Troy, Mich., and in Columbus, Ind., as well as customer centers in Southfield, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio.