Each year WBENC honors the corporations who most successfully drive the sustainable inclusion of women-owned businesses within their supply chains with the America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) award. This year, we were proud to recognize 66 corporations who collectively spent more than $39.3 billion with WBENC-Certified WBE suppliers in 2016.
But these are corporations are not just innovative in their approach to diversity and inclusion. They are also trendsetters, leading the charge in their respective industries, bringing new solutions to market, and solving some of the world’s most complex business challenges.
As part of our Future Friday blog series, we are featuring guest posts from our 2017 Top Corporations for a look into the future of their business – and how diverse suppliers can play a role.
Adient, the global leader in automotive seating, shares a fascinating look into how mobility vehicle seating is adapting as we move toward wider use of electric and autonomous vehicles.
Adient: Improving the experience of a world in motion
By 2025 many of us thought we’d have flying cars. While this may not entirely be the case we will have the next best thing: autonomous vehicles.
And while someday we may all have cars that can drive (or nearly drive) themselves, they will all have one thing in common – great, new seating options.
This is where Adient comes in. As the global leader in automotive seating, our world-class engineers are developing the innovative, flexible seating options passengers will demand as vehicles are less about the act of driving and more about letting the car “do the work” while the occupants chat face-to-face, read and play games, or even take a nap.
As example, Adient’s AI18 concept vehicle interior, based on the findings of Adient’s proprietary studies of automotive customers’ seating needs in 2030 and beyond, features five modes: lounge, communication, cargo, family and baby plus. You can watch a demo of the seat here.
Safety is always essential, and with the changes in mobility Adient is ready to address the unique safety challenges autonomous driving presents.
Adient has developed a unique safety belt that is integrated into the seat so safety is never comprised, even if the passenger turns the seat 360 degrees. These seats of the future will also include an integrated airbag concept that can be triggered both forwards and backwards, depending on the seat position. In the case of a collision, the seats will have an automatic fast-adjustment system that can be coupled to predictive assistance systems.
"With the integrated restraint system, we offer automakers a solution to ensure a high level of passenger safety even with changed seating layouts," says Dr. Detlef Juerss, vice president engineering and CTO for Adient. "In current vehicle models the integrated seat belt system is used primarily for free-standing business seats in the premium segment. However, with this technology, we are prepared to meet new safety requirements for autonomous driving."
The future of transportation is radically changing, and Adient will continue to innovate to meet the demands of these exciting new means of travel. This also means Adient will continually need to source and partner with businesses of all types to ensure we have the right materials and assets to bring our seating concepts to life.
With this spirit, we co-chair our “Driving Impact” business training program. Business owners who participate in Driving Impact learn how to enhance their relationships with industry leaders through education, training and networking opportunities, as well as benefit from mentorships with dedicated corporate leaders. You can learn more about Adient’s diverse supplier guidelines and Driving Impact program here.
And the opportunities don’t stop here. In January 2018, Adient announced the launch of Adient Aerospace, a joint venture with Boeing that will develop, manufacture, and sell a portfolio of seating products to airlines and aircraft leasing companies. The aircraft seats will be available for installation on new airplanes and as retrofit configurations for aircraft produced by Boeing and other commercial airplane manufacturers.
With this venture Adient will continue its commitment to quality and innovation and working with diverse business owners around the globe.
Adient is a global leader in automotive seating. With 85,000 employees operating 238 manufacturing/assembly plants in 34 countries worldwide, we produce and deliver automotive seating for all vehicle classes and all major OEMs. From complete seating systems to individual components, our expertise spans every step of the automotive seat-making process. Our integrated, in-house skills allow us to take our products from research and design all the way to engineering and manufacturing – and into more than 25 million vehicles every year. Learn more at www.adient.com