“At the end of the day, we believe safety sells and significant growth is shaping up for the future. Our strategy is very rooted to that vision.”
One interesting aspect of about the Automotive Industries Top 10 list is that three of the companies have been completely recast in recent years and yet still make the list. TRW Automotive is one of them. Driving its success is a balanced global customer base that includes all major brands in the world.
“Four strategic priorities drive all of our efforts and resources, our capital allocations and so on,” Steve Lunn, executive vice president explains. “Highest quality is just the ticket to the game. It doesn’t mean you win. That is just the pre-requisite for people who want to compete at the very top level of our industry.
“Next would be lowest cost. That’s what our customers need when they compete to win. The next item would certainly be innovative technology that not only meets customer needs but anticipates them. People like us have to showcase our technology to OEMs so they can see what’s possible or will be possible and then help them satisfy their customers and sell more product.
“Fourth on the list is global reach matching up with customers who are global or becoming global through collaboration. Regional players are getting together all over the world. We think these strategic priorities are highest on our customer’s radar screen.”
Quality must be embedded in the development process for tomorrow’s product, he believes, and not limited to what goes on in the factory every day. Integrating various processes and principles, TRW has developed a program called Global Development Product Introduction Management (GDPIM).
“This is a very structured and disciplined gateway approach to qualifying the maturation of our products in their two or three year development cycle,” Lunn says. “As we get nearer to introducing product we have very disciplined techniques of advance quality planning and launch readiness.
“We have a very high-level focus on the program as it comes into the 180 day pre-Job One and we nurture it beyond launch to a least a 90 day post-Job One. Readiness events occur in preparation for the next generation product or the new product that we’re launching.” TRW is very aggressive with respect to value management seeking the best global solution for development and manufacturing coupled with efficient logistics. Intensive and comprehensive effort goes into driving lowest costs.
Where are its strongest product opportunities? TRW is primarily but broadly focused on safety. “I think we uniquely combine the informed elements related to both active and passive safety systems and integrating these technologies through smart systems,” believes Lunn.
“Have the engine management system talking to steering, communicating with braking. We can provide intervention if things are potentially going wrong with the vehicle because of driver handling or an emergency situation. Another area, how can we provide additional safety for pedestrians? We’re working on that. At the end of the day, we believe safety sells and significant growth is shaping up for the future. Our strategy is very rooted to that vision.”