Staying ahead of the competition in a highly competitive industry requires a commitment to innovation. But where do the ideas come from?
Continental, one of top five automotive suppliers worldwide, recently adopted a novel approach to spurring innovation with its first Supplier Innovation Day held in Regensburg, Germany. The idea behind the event was to expand the company’s innovation potential by tapping into the collective brainpower of some of its most innovative suppliers.
To prepare for the in-house innovation day, the highest performing of Continental's 800 core suppliers were invited to submit designs and product development ideas. Eight-six proposals were short-listed from 25 suppliers, 20 of which were eventually invited to attend. Tektronix submitted a proposal and ended up as the only test and measurement vendor to receive an invitation to participate.
Continental opted for a trade fair format to allow a free-form exchange of ideas between Continental's own experts and the exhibitors. Around 1.500 engineers, purchasing, innovation and quality managers and experts from different Continental locations in Germany and Europe took the opportunity to get an insight into future developments and market trends.
From a test and measurement perspective, the highlight for many of the attendees proved to be the world’s first mixed domain oscilloscope, the Tektronix MDO4000. Since many automotive designs are starting to incorporate wireless devices, the ability to debug systems across RF, analog and digital domains is becoming increasingly important to automotive designers. The MDO4000 is also a powerful tool for isolating unwanted sources of EMI emissions.
In addition to the MDO4000, there was considerable interest in other innovations from Tektronix as shown below including the new RSA5000 mid-range spectrum analyzer and DSA8300 sampling oscilloscopes as well as H500 handheld spectrum analyzers, which are only a few examples of Tektronix innovative automotive test equipment.
Feedback during and after the event from Continental’s engineering groups indicated that the event was successful in helping to generate new insights that will lead to new products, higher quality or contribute to lower design and production costs. The event also offered a way for Tektronix to learn more about the test and measurement requirements of Continental’s various product groups. If your company is looking for fresh ideas, supplier innovation events such as this may be one concept worth exploring.