Groundbreaking Technology Perfecting Driver ExperienceTue, 09/01/2015 - 14:22
Q: What are the most important activities of the Visteon Technical Center?
A: Visteon Technical Center Mexico (VTCM) was inaugurated in 2002, when it assumed all the designrelated responsibilities that were previously managed in our manufacturing plants. Currently, we have more than 220 employees within a 72,000ft2 working space. In 2003 we achieved the ISO 16949 quality certification and in 2010 the ISO/IEC 17025 for Testing Operations. By 2014, we were able to recertify in adherence to ISO 16949 and ISO 17025. By the end of 2014, VTCM had grown by approximately 30%, and we expect this expansion to continue until the end of 2015. We manage design operations for connectivity, infotainment, instrument clusters, and displays, as well as audio and climate systems. Additionally, we offer engineering services in electronics, mechanics, plastics and metal modeling, quality, and vehicle acoustics. We have launched new programs in collaboration with North American automotive manufacturers, we supply products to Asia-Pacific OEMs, and we are pursuing new opportunities with European automakers.
Q: How much freedom does Visteon have in its design process, and how much development comes from the OEMs?
A: OEMs provide us with guidelines for what they need, along with a rendering of how they visualize the product. Companies normally have a framework of required specifications such as dimensions, volume, weight, materials, and even the amount of local content required. Within that framework, we have the flexibility to develop a product using sketches and schematics, showing every component required to build the final assembly. Additionally, we must comply with every mechanical and electrical specification from component suppliers. Our system requirement and sales teams work together to ensure this, following the latest market trends. The entire process after the financial estimation is managed directly with customers, and once we have all the program requirements, we can provide a prototype and begin working on the final specifications. Our stage-gate product development process ensures that we receive and respond to customer feedback, always presenting new technologies and ideas that we can recommend to our customers.
Q: What new trends have you detected in the market?
A: We have noticed that even low-end vehicles are now including the latest connectivity and electronic technology, so Visteon is working to make every device compatible with infotainment systems. Nowadays, drivers can use movement recognition technology, and even eye tracking systems which are revolutionizing the industry. Visteon was also recently awarded a project to deliver another groundbreaking system, namely a curved display with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. We participate in the Customer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every year where we present our latest concepts. As a result, we have identified several opportunities in emerging technologies, such as heads-up displays. To stay up to date with new trends, our marketing team identifies the most popular devices, and our engineering team develops systems that can be easily updated to maintain compatibility.
VTCM is collaborating in the development of these new technologies on a six-month program that sends engineers to the US to work on projects for emerging technology, allowing our teams to broaden their horizons and potentially bring new ideas to Mexico. The program increases loyalty among our engineers and is a perfect way to recognize high performers, providing the opportunity to test their abilities with other engineers in an educational environment.
Q: What does Visteon look for in new recruits and where are you focusing your recruitment efforts?
A: The most useful specialties for Visteon have been software, electronics, mechanics, and mechatronics, and we have always considered speaking two languages a priority in our recruitment process. Besides qualifications, the skills we value are proactivity, commitment, and the capacity for selfdirected learning, because knowledge can be acquired, but attitude and core values are difficult to change. We target graduates through relationships with universities, mostly for professional internships. Our intern program has proved an effective way to recruit new talent and has allowed us to create an intense training program for the most promising college graduates. This consists of a structured rotational plan through different areas of the company over two and a half years, providing a comprehensive knowledge of VTCM.