Automotive Rapid Prototyping Fail First Paradox

New product development and innovation is much more difficult and time consuming than most other business activities. Automotive rapid prototyping greatly enhances learning speed and reduces the risk of new automotive parts development.

Historically, the automotive industry has been using rapid prototyping as an important tool in the automotive parts design process. The extremely fast-paced automotive design cycles require an extremely fast prototyping system which can produce car parts fast and inexpensively.

The main objective of automotive prototyping is to learn quickly: how a new automotive product behaves in its natural working environment, before transferring the prototype to the production line. Many times, mistakes are learned only after a new automotive part is launched. This is the main explanation for poor automotive parts design, from product mismatch, poor engineering and function or finish, and overpriced production. In order to accelerate the learning curve, before these costly automotive prototyping mistakes are made, one must accelerate and facilitate feedback loops from tests in the lab and market trials.

Automotive Manufacturing Technologies

Working with an assortment of rapid prototyping equipment, automotive prototyping engineers utilize the most advanced 3D printers, in their quest for perfect form, function and utility. Working in advanced manufacturing centers, the automotive engineers use the technology to verify what they are doing, and, equally important, to save tremendous amounts of time, and money.

Automotive Rapid Prototyping Compresses Development Time

The advantages of 3D rapid prototyping model creation versus viewing a cad/cam model on a computer screen is palpable. Automotive parts engineers get together discuss the pros and cons of a rapidly produced automotive parts model and discuss the pros and cons of the design, as they pass it around, twisting and viewing the prototype, and decide if that is what they had in mind. This way, problems get solved up front, before going to the assembly line! Once determined that the automotive prototype design is a go, the model can then be sent to a die maker.

Automotive Prototyping and the Die Maker Process

The die maker cannot use model to make the die, but because they have it in their hand and can look at it and feel it, they can determine where the parting lines will be and exactly how much steel they will need to produce it. The timing of the die process is greatly compressed.

Examples of Automotive Rapid Prototyping Parts

· Engine castings and parts

· Car Engine parts

· Auto Mechanical parts

· Car Dashboards

· Car Handles and Knobs

· Auto Body Components

· Car Trim parts

Fail first Paradox in Automotive Rapid Prototyping

The automotive rapid prototyping paradox is to fail earlier rather than later. By failing earlier, the design engineers surprisingly succeed in accelerating the project; this greatly reduces development cost risk. By considering all automotive prototype failures as learning experiments, the engineer has much less stress, knowing that they are practicing the old adage, that success comes from ninety-nine percent failure and introspection.

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Automotive Advertising Agencies Need to Reinvent Themselves to Support Social Media

The role of automotive advertising agencies is changing along with the auto industry that they serve. It is important for automotive advertising agencies to educate themselves and their auto dealer clients about their changing roles in a consolidating auto industry that is shifting onto the Internet Super Highway vs. local car rows.

Problems and solution shared at real world venues in the auto industry are having an impact and the slow shift to the new pull/push world of the consumer driven Internet is becoming more obvious. Similarly, a growing number of online social networking communities are also all helping to spread the word and their timing couldn’t be better.

The only constant in the auto industry is change. Of course human nature is also a universal constant, but since that is the fuel that powers most change in the auto industry it must be factored in and considered by automotive advertising agencies who can now look to consumers for the answers.

Radio, T.V. and newspapers are no longer the media of choice for today’s Internet savvy consumers. B2C messages online are filtered out in favor of C2C conversations in social networking communities that now dot the landscape on the World Wide Web. Automotive advertising agencies must reinvent themselves as the resource that auto dealers rely on to navigate them onto the Internet Super Highway because that is where their customers are.

Keeping ahead of new technologies and applications that integrate selling processes between the real and the virtual world showrooms and inserting auto dealers into the conversations that make up the online marketplace must be job one for automotive advertising agencies who wish to serve their auto dealer clients in today’s challenging auto industry. Radio, T.V. and print production has a shrinking role in an automotive advertising agency’s tool box and leveraged online production resources will eliminate them altogether in the near future. Similarly, agency commissions earned from conventional media analysis and placement are being absorbed into the media providers as value added services for their auto dealer advertisers. At the same time, automotive advertising budgets are being shifted to online digital marketing platforms with more verifiable sourced R.O.I. that is far superior to conventional media. The writing is on the virtual wall and automotive advertising agencies must either read it, write it or accept their diminishing value in tomorrow’s auto industry.”

The Internet has empowered consumers to bypass auto dealers and even their most strategically placed marketing message in favor of online information resources that are not dependent on automotive advertising agencies or auto dealers for their content. Initially, third party aggregators captured online auto shoppers attempting to avoid real and virtual world auto dealerships by collecting inventory from hundreds of auto dealers anxious to get their inventory in front of today buyers for new and pre-owned vehicles. Consumers quickly realized the limitations of looking at vehicles in this kind of dealer-centric platform and the technology driven evolution of online marketing platforms soon provided more consumer-centric solutions.

Auto dealers are now able to monetize social media with features that invite car shoppers to share their vehicle selections with their online friends and family to assist them in their car shopping experience. These C2C conversations pushed to Face Book and other social networking communities replace previous unsuccessful attempts by automotive advertising agencies to post B2C messages on the same social media platforms. Automotive advertising agencies need to know about sites that offer a variety of free services and a way to earn a seat at the social media table More relevantly, they need to tell their auto dealer clients about them to justify their agency fees!

Other technology driven applications automotive advertising agencies need to tell their auto dealer clients about that will allow them to sell more vehicles and service for less money and with less staff include dealer hosted personal web sites for their staff, dashboard tools that integrates telephone and SMS text messaging for more comprehensive and cost effective follow up, automated video production platforms that converts the pictures on an auto dealer’s website pushed onto the search engines with Facebook applications that allow an auto dealer to display their entire inventory on a non-offensive tab within the customers Face Book page, customer interaction platforms that allow online shoppers to initiate a two way video conversation from within an auto dealer’s website that can accommodate a turnkey online transaction without having to drop the glass wall that empowers online shoppers to move forward in the negotiation process and appraisal tools which provide site visitors with NADA sourced values for their trade-in while selecting suitable vehicles from the auto dealers online inventory to find a car to replace the one that they are selling.

Any one of these new online conversion and marketing tools can develop a superior R.O.I. to even the best written and placed conventional automotive advertising messages and/or online digital marketing campaigns. These technology driven solutions and their importance to automotive advertising agencies are needed to justify their agency fees to their auto dealer clients in today’s consolidating auto industry. Many automotive advertising agencies still operate under the assumption that if they bring enough bodies to the front door then they have earned their fees. In today’s consolidating auto industry; not so much!

Reduced sales volume and profit margins coupled with increased expenses demand that automotive advertising agencies must increase their areas of responsibility to include internal selling processes using systems to increase efficiencies across all departments in an auto dealership in both their brick and mortar facilities and their newly developing virtual showrooms. You have to be in it to win it and for the foreseeable future the game is being played on the World Wide Web. The most active lanes on the Internet Super Highway are those that lead to social networking communities that share information between automotive advertising agencies and auto dealers as much as they do for their customers.

Automotive Advertising Agencies Don’t Know What They Don’t Know But Social Media Has The Answers

Automotive advertising agencies are being asked to deliver more for less by a consolidating auto industry in response to reduced sales volume, profit margins and automotive advertising budgets. The solution, as is often the case, lies in the leveraged use of technology applied to a constant in the auto industry — change. Another constant that can be found in the auto industry is human nature. These two constants, change and human nature, power the explosive growth of the use of social media by automotive advertising agencies. Unfortunately, the change is happening at warp speed on the Internet Super Highway and agencies don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to new technologies and applications being developed to monetize social media.

Attempts to provide a presence for automobile dealers on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter fall short for the same reasons that these online communities of friends are so successful with consumers. People hate car dealers and they often turn to advice from like minded consumers on social networking sites to get away from them. Automotive advertising agencies that impose on these personal conversations with self serving sales messages are often ostracized and even virally attacked as an intruder. The potential damage to the online reputation of their auto dealer clients represents a risk to reward formula that has forced many agencies to abandon social media as a viable channel to deliver a retail sales or service message.

Fortunately, the same social media that teaches consumers how to buy a vehicle can provide automobile dealers with the information and the tools that they need to sell them one. Social networking portals developed by advertising professionals, automotive vendors and auto dealers allow their members to share best practices with the common philosophy that a rising tide floats all boats. Each online community boasts its own personality and rules of the road to keep members in their lane. The temptation to sell to each other is controlled by the same social pressures that exist on consumer facing social networks for those that forget why they are there — to listen and learn so they can presume to teach their auto dealers how they can sell cars and service to their online friends.

In addition to sharing best practices, many automotive advertising agencies use social media to discover new technologies and vendor applications that have not yet been discovered by the mainstream auto industry. Recent discoveries that I can contribute to my searches on social media include an automated video production platform that produces scalable interactive videos from pictures using human voice to narrate them that are placed on the auto dealer’s website and pushed through a dedicated API with YouTube onto the world wide web. An equally revolutionary discovery was a consumer centric inventory marketing platforms that offers auto dealers free listings and free leads with the ability to purchase real time market analytics and social networking profiles that empower the salesperson to answer the customer’s questions even before they ask them. Each of these vendor applications were introduced to the market through automotive advertising social networking communities that enabled them to listen and learn from their members about how they can improve their products and services before they introduced them to the general market. My access to these automotive advertising solutions was only possible as a result of the time I invested on social media looking for them so that I could stay one step ahead of the competition.

Online blog talk radio stations hosted on automotive advertising networking portals provide a another social media forum for finding and reviewing new automotive advertising solutions. Regularly scheduled blog talk radio shows with live interviews of the developers of bleeding edge automotive advertising applications allow their online audience to ask vendors questions in an open forum. These open exchanges of ideas in a problem solution format help the vendors as much as the automotive advertising decision makers that follow the shows. A new mobile sales presentation platform with an integrated training component was recently discussed on a blog talk radio show to solicit feedback from the audience. Their insights were used to modify the platform before the vendor began their beta test it in the real world saving thousands of wasted dollars and man hours that would normally be required to mature their application.

The opportunity for automotive advertising agencies and auto dealers to listen, learn and contribute to social networking communities allows them to discover what they don’t know while allowing them the opportunity to share what they do know. Auto dealers are people too/ The same efficiencies and extended resources that attract consumers to social media to research their next vehicle purchase is sourced by automotive advertising agencies who need to stay one step ahead of the competition in a consolidating auto industry that demands more for less. Automotive advertising agencies don’t know what they don’t know but they can definitely find out on auto industry focused social media. After all, what are friends for!