Seems that Goodyear, the tire company, is embracing open innovation in the quest to find innovation in their product offerings. Goodyear sponsored “Innovation Events” where they laid out their plans for the future and brought members of their ecosystem “under their wing”. Goodyear innovators will continue to team with leading research and testing institutions like Sandia National Labs. However this new initiative allows Goodyear to also tap into their close working relationships with their suppliers to encourage joint technology development that will help the tire maker bring “game changing” products to market at an even faster pace.
Since the April meetings, these suppliers have proposed nearly 200 initiatives in the areas of acquisition cost, materials management, conversion cost and new product development that can have a direct, positive impact on Goodyear’s product innovations. These initiatives will serve to enhance Goodyear’s overall R&D expenditures, but more importantly, they will significantly enhance the company’s supply chain.
“When fully aligned with Goodyear’s new products engine, the combined effort should accelerate significantly the introduction of relevant new innovations,” Kihn said.
“Innovation in difficult times makes more of a difference than ever,” stated Bert De Graeve, Chief Executive Officer of Belgium-based Bekaert Corporation, a global leader in drawn steel wire products and applications. “We greatly appreciate Goodyear’s commitment to long term collaborative innovation with its suppliers. The definition of a good supplier goes well beyond a cheap supplier for the next quarter and Bekaert is ready to take on the innovation challenges outlined by Goodyear’s executive leadership,” he said.
Goodyear and the supplier companies will facilitate the application of new innovations into new tire products while protecting each other’s intellectual property through a series of new, or enhanced technical and commercial agreements. “We want to ensure that the commercialization of any innovation occurs at the appropriate stage of a product’s development,” Kihn said. “And we also want to make sure that there are sufficient incentives provided to our suppliers so that they concentrate on the most marketable innovations.”
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs nearly 70,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 60 facilities in 25 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products that set the technology and performance standard for the industry.