Below is an abstract of a paper that was published in ICED11 conference.
Improving design communication in product development networks can lead to a better design process. This paper presents a new design communication structure in the buyer-supplier relationship better serves the needs of networked product development compared to traditional communication structures in buyer-supplier relationships. Social media tools were used to create the new communication structure. Data was collected with case studies in the foundry industry. A simulation game was played to test the use of social media tools in buyer-supplier relationships. The results show signs of social media tools enabling improved situational awareness, improving transparency, widening the response base, which was used for community sourcing within the product development network, and new social spaces create collaboration possibilities that were not possible before. These benefits help improve, for example, the design by including more points-of-view than before and by preventing challenges in production by increasing the awareness of the upcoming design.
Hölttä, V., Eisto, T.(2011) Social Media Enabled Design Communication Structure in a Buyer-Supplier relationship . In Proceedings of The 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11),Copenhagen, Denmark, 15-18 August 2011