By Song Min Lee
Cooper Standard, to meet our customers’ growing needs, has accelerated its growth and development in the Asia Pacific region. In 2015, Asia Pacific was the fastest growing segment of Cooper Standard. This is a result of the long-term commitment we made to our customers in this region, and our recent key growth initiatives.
We currently have 23 manufacturing facilities in the Asia Pacific region, including eight in India: Bawal, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Manesar, Mumbai, Sanand and two in Pune (one of which is our Indian headquarters).
In addition to our strong presence in India, just this year we celebrated the opening of two new facilities in China – in Chongqing and Huai’an. Our Chongqing facility is approximately 18,000-square-meters and employees 200 people. This facility manufactures fluid transfer systems, fuel and brake delivery systems, and sealing systems for customers such as Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Car Group. Our second recently opened facility is a joint venture between Cooper Standard and Japan INOAC Corporation in Huai’an, Jiangsu. Our Huai’an facility is dedicated to the manufacture and development of fluid transfer products.
Since 2012, we have doubled our commitment to the region and its auto customers. The important Asia Pacific region now accounts for 13 percent of our total revenue, which is a 75 percent increase from the same period last year.
Cooper Standard not only offers a strong Asian manufacturing footprint, but is also increasing our engineering and testing resources to better support our customers’ needs no matter what region they operate. Specifically in Asia, we have two technical centers in China, as well as engineering centers in India, Korea and Japan.
We also have full sealing validation test labs in Qinpu, China and a fuel and brake delivery test lab at our Kunshan II, China plant. In addition, we have anti-vibration test capabilities through our joint venture in Mumbai and a fluid transfer test lab under development at our Huai’an location. Using these resources, our employees in Asia can support the entire product life cycle including design, test, validation and final production. And there’s more to come.
Strong Indian Partner
According to the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers, the current Indian automotive sector is a $74 billion industry. By 2026, the industry is expected to achieve a turnover of $300 billion … and Cooper Standard is dedicated to being a strong local partner to our customers in the region.
Over the next four years, by focusing on our customers’ needs and making investments in facilities, Cooper Standard expects to more than double the size of our business in the Asia Pacific region to approximately $1 billion in sales, including strong growth in India.
Cooper Standard has been very purposeful in aligning its Indian footprint with our core automaker customers. We currently supply all four of our core product groups – sealing; fuel and brake delivery; fuel transfer; and anti-vibration systems – to the region. We’re continually working to develop the products and technologies that solve Indian automakers’ biggest challenges, be it fuel economy, emissions regulations, light weighting or other customer-specific issues.
Part of that dedication includes investing in breakthrough technology by aligning our two greatest assets: our employees and culture of innovation. To harness and capitalize on the creative energy of these two vital capabilities, we developed our i3 Innovation Process. This initiative works to further drive a culture of innovation by gathering ideas from anyone within the company or our partners. Since its inception, participation in the program has exceeded our expectations.
The process, which includes three basic steps – Imagine, Initiate and Innovate – works to identify the most radical or game-changing ideas to be presented to the company’s Global Technology Council, which consists of Cooper Standard’s top R&D executives. Projects presented to the Global Technology Council are then evaluated for potential production.
The i3 Process encourages and accepts all ideas. If they do not fall into the innovation or product development categories, the ideas are transferred to the correct department of expertise for consideration as a project. Since its inception, the Global Technology Council has reviewed hundreds of ideas from regions across the globe representing sealing, fuel and brake delivery, fluid transfer, anti-vibration systems, lean, purchasing and more. All of these products and technologies will help our Indian customers apply new innovations to help address current and future auto-specific challenges.
Our i3 Process is allowing Cooper Standard to innovate where our customers least expect it, a new mantra for our innovation efforts, and has generated a number of game-changing ideas. They include:-
Our ArmorHose family is transforming the future of hose technology and abrasion resistance by eliminating the need for abrasion sleeves. ArmorHose™ offers 100 percent abrasion coverage and eliminates all associated engineering change costs without compromising packaging space or assembly operations. ArmorHose is a cost effective, integrated hose construction solution that incorporates an abrasion resistant outer layer, eliminating the need for secondary protective sleeves.
ArmorHose II is the next generation of the ArmorHose™ family that integrates a lightweight material to reduce mass and weight. Our ArmorHose products meet and exceed the performance of existing hoses. Both of these technologies have already received excellent customer response.
The Fortrex family of materials is changing the automotive industry’s expectations of weatherseal system performance and aesthetics. This revolutionary material offers something new in a space that hasn’t seen change in many decades.
Our Fortrex material combines the best attributes of EPDM and TPE materials while mitigating their short comings. Fortrex™ is an elastomer that offers market-leading weight reduction and delivers superior sealing, weatherability, NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) reduction and gloss performance.
GEN III Quick Connects offer a new and innovative product design that focuses on enhanced capabilities involving performance in use, ease of assembly and improved serviceability. We believe this product is the most robust, reliable connector design currently available.
Magalloy will transform the future of automotive tubing by enabling longevity for automotive tubing constructions. This process offers an improved intermediate and sacrificial layer within the overall tube construction to better protect the base tube from corrosion. Magalloy™ provides four times the performance versus existing technologies used in tubing applications when the external layer of the construction is compromised.
By combining our two greatest assets – our employees and culture of innovation – with our relentless focus on the customer, we’re confident we’ll be able to continue providing our customers throughout Asia Pacific with the products and services that meet their evolving needs.