Testing, Design Secure Business GrowthSat, 09/01/2018 - 13:04
Q: How will Tachi-S’ TSELA design and development center support the Mexican automotive industry?
GE: The TSELA design and development center is already 100 percent functional, which means all design, development and testing for Tachi-S’ production can be completed locally in Aguascalientes. We have not yet engaged in advanced engineering processes or prototype-designing operations in Mexico but we plan to do so soon. Our main local client is Nissan and the fact that we can carry out these operations locally makes processes much faster and more efficient. Any testing and validation in our sector can be carried out locally rather than in Japan or the US, so TSELA has received a warm welcome from clients. Moreover, the center has an idle capacity that we want to occupy by servicing more automotive companies in the vehicle seats sector.
Q: What is Tachi-S’ strategy to become the go-to seat supplier for Mazda and Toyota in Mexico?
GE: Tachi-S is ready to jump in and support any OEM that arrives to Mexico. We are already supplying seats for INFINITI vehicles being produced at the Renault-Nissan-Daimler COMPAS venture in Aguascalientes. We see an opportunity to eventually become a Tier 1 supplier for Mazda and Toyota, although the former had defined which Tier 1 suppliers would cater to its Salamanca assembly plant prior to its arrival to Mexico. This reduces our opportunities to collaborate with the company until it starts producing new models. We have tried to insert ourselves into Mazda’s local supply chain as a Tier 2 by taking advantage of our well-integrated seat-manufacturing processes and advanced manufacturing infrastructure.
The case of Toyota is similar to Mazda’s in the sense that it will come to Mexico with a series of previously agreed commitments with its traditional suppliers. As with Mazda, Tachi-S is in talks with the companies that produce Toyota’s seats to try and become a Tier 2 supplier. It is unlikely that Mazda or Toyota will stick to a single seat Tier 1 supplier once they ramp up their production and produce more models. We have an opportunity there.
AG: We have been working for three years with the goal of inserting ourselves into Mazda’s local assembly processes. We have the capacity to be a Tier 1 supplier for Mazda but currently focus on negotiations with its direct suppliers to become a Tier 2 that supplies components such as headrests and trim covers for seats. Similarly, Tachi-S owns a company called Setex Automotive that has facilities located near the projected Toyota plant in Guanajuato.
Q: What is Tachis-S’ strategy to insert itself into new supply chains?
GE: We are integrating our processes to make sure we can meet client needs within our market niche. Integration of our capacities and processes and our ability to offer product validation and certification processes locally are among our main differentiators. We pitch product ideas to clients and offer them the possibility to certify these products locally so they can meet any international regulation. A key way to better respond to clients is achieving a greater integration of processes, which ensures greater control over our supply chain. By doing this, Tachi-S is able to adapt to the specific needs of a Japanese, US or German OEM. A Tier 1 supplier that can only control the final links of a manufacturing process will have a hard time addressing the needs of an individual OEM.
AG: Creation of global alliances between OEMs, such as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, pushes Tier 1 suppliers to become cost-competitive at a global level. We need to be able to compete locally, regionally and globally, so we need to look for the best suppliers in terms of costs.
Q: What end-of-year results does Tachi-S expect for 2018?
A: The ongoing drop in sales limits our capacity to invest using our own resources, so we may need to use external resources to continue investing. Aside from that, we expect to market around 900,000 vehicle seats for Nissan and Honda.