Success Record: The Donnelly Corporation
(now Magna Donnelly Corporation)
Located in Holland, Michigan, Donnelly is a supplier of automotive mirrors and other components to OEM’S. In 1969, it was one of the first firms to embrace the Planned Innovation philosophy and process. Donnelly’s sales that year were $10.5 million. The firm grew steadily for three decades, reaching sales of $848 million in 2002, when it merged with Magna International, a Canadian firm. Donnelly’s growth pattern from 1985 through 1998 is shown in the following figure.
Mr. Rich Cook, formerly Vice President at Donnelly, was directly involved in using the Planned Innovation process and later wrote as follows about his experience:
"As a young physicist at Donnelly, learning this approach to marketing and product creation was a life-transforming experience. This training enabled me, working with the other team members at Donnelly to create the first glass moonroof/sunroof for Ford Motor Company and the 'opera lite,' a small decorative window for the Mark and Lincoln Continental. The profitability of the glass moonroof prevented significant job loss at Donnelly during the first oil shock. The opera lite decorative window turned out to be the immediate precursor of the automotive modular window.
Using the principles of Planned Innovation®, many significant and innovative products were rapidly created over a decade. These included:
- coated glass for LCD displays used in consumer electronics such as computers, watches, gas pumps and clocks;
- most of the computer touch panels used in the U.S.
- the new lighted rear view mirror used in cars, leading to totally new interior lighting in cars, enhancing the safety, comfort and convenience of all occupants; and, finally,
- the new large-area, electrochromic mirror for heavy-duty trucks, which will improve long-haul trucking considerably.
The experience with Planned Innovation® has affected the company for over 20 years in a very positive manner, with the immediate or derivative products creating well over half of all the good-paying jobs at Donnelly today, the vast majority remaining in Western Michigan."