Illuminating the Local Supply ChainThu, 09/01/2016 - 14:58
Q: How has OSRAM made its mark on the lighting industry in Mexico and how do you keep growing?
A: The lighting industry had not been challenged by technological shifts as much as other industries until the quest for energy efficiency emerged 15 years ago. OEMs in Mexico were limited and so were the vehicle models they manufactured. Today, OEMs engage in constant competition and the number of companies increases every year. The demand for higher quality and competitive prices spurred a push for better practices from OEMs and the supply chain. This included higher expectations for the lighting industry.
OSRAM has new technologies that are the direct result of its close relationship with the automotive industry. Most of Mexico’s foreign investment is poured into this segment, demonstrated by new projects from Honda, KIA and Audi. Similarly, suppliers like Valeo, American Lighting, Stanley Automotive Group and National Automotive Lighting have made their way into the Mexican market, giving OSRAM an opportunity to position its products. We are constantly being challenged by automotive companies to improve the quality of our products and services, which means that we have to continue innovating the technologies that are in the market, as well as those in early development.
Q: What is OSRAM’s contribution to technology development in the industry?
A: We are the leader in automotive lighting and a key player in the development of new technology such as LED modules. Although this technology was developed close to 25 years ago, it was not commercialized en masse and was just recently implemented in the automotive market with laser and matrix solutions. Despite this, traditional halogen and xenon technologies remain market leaders. Technologies like OLED have not yet achieved complete penetration in the US market.
BMW has implemented a continuous LED in one of its vehicles. It is not unusual for LED lighting to be perceived as singular points instead of an integrated and robust light, and some providers lack the quality this technology needs. This is not the case for OSRAM. OLED and continuous LED technology allow us to cover a whole surface rather than a particular point and although it might seem a minor change, it has major significance in the component’s performance. The technology is still maturing and will be restricted to high-end vehicles until it can enter the Mexican manufacturing market.
The main entry barrier for laser and matrix in the NAFTA region is the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 (FMVSS 108), which regulates automotive lighting, signaling and reflective devices in the US. OSRAM has also worked to develop automatic and intuitive lighting, as well as other applications that directly interact with the driving experience. For example, we have electronic cards that when attached to the engine can make the vehicle’s interior lights follow the beat of the music playing. This specific modality is controlled through the user’s smartphone, allowing them to control the timing and color of the light.
Q: How does OSRAM generate its solutions?
A: We are developing our solutions in direct collaboration with our OEM clients and their Tier 1 suppliers. Traditionally, OSRAM’s products are incorporated into other components, which are later added to the final assembly. Companies like ours have the task of ensuring the decisions made by top executives around the world materialize in their Mexican operations. OSRAM has become a pioneer in technological advancement, while offering warm customer service to all our clients. As a result, we are the best lighting provider in the industry with the highest levels of flexibility, able to mold our procedures to any requirement imposed by automotive companies. A prime example is OSRAM’s cooperation with Flex and Ford on the F-150 launched in 2015. This effort led to the creation of the first truck featuring a full LED forward lighting system.