EBP i Olofstrom, offers turn-key outsourcing solutions for the supply of aftermarket body panels for a number of automotive companies such as Aston Martin, Volvo, Saab Automobiles, Honda and Audi. Started in 1996, the quarter billion Swedish kronor company says it takes entire responsibility for the entire process of turnkey outsourcing of panels â€“ including the stamping, assembling, coating, packing and distribution.
Located in Olofstrom, which is the hub for the Swedish automotive industryâ€™s body panel production, the companyâ€™s mission statement is to be the leading supplier of body panels to the industry. According to the company, the production of car-body sheet products started in OlofstrÃ¶m as early as 1926. In 1991 a separate production unit was opened that focused exclusively on production for the after-market. Today this is an independent company operating under the name EBP, European Body Panels, within the Hexagon Group.
EBP says that it has developed a concept for manufacturing spare parts for car models after the series production ends. â€œBy adapting our manufacturing process and the customerâ€™s original equipment to small volumes EBP can manufacture optimum quantities and thereby reduce our customersâ€™ storage and handling costs. EBP focuses on small production volumes for the automotive industryâ€™s aftermarket. Most of our competitors prefer large-scale series production. Our customersâ€™ purchasing organisations and sub-divisions need to contact just one supplier, EBP, instead of several suppliers whose focus is not on manufacturing small volumes for the aftermarket,â€ says a statement on the EBP website.
EBP takes charge of the entire process from the phase-out of a car model to packaging the finished product ready for delivery. The company promises better products, reliable deliveries and lower overall costs since all their activities are under one roof. This way, automotive companies can focus on producing and marketing new car models while EBP takes over the administration, storage and tool maintenance of stamping tools and folding equipment for discontinued models.
EBP is owned by SwedPart AB, which in turn is owned by Hexagon. SwedPart has 83 per cent with Midway Holdings having the remaining 17%. The company has the ISO/TS 16949: 2nd edition and ISO 9001:2000 as well as ISO 14001:2004 certifications. The company has around 170 employees.
Automotive Industries spoke to Anders Felling, vice-president and sales and marketing director at EBP i Olofstrom AB.
AI: Please tell us a little bit about how your out-sourcing systems and solutions have helped clients.
We can deliver a turn-key solution, including material sourcing, stamping, assembling, ED-coating, packaging and distribution. To realize this we offer project management, which could start up to one year before end-of-production at the manufacturer. We managed 2 complete car projects with Honda in 2004 and 2005, including all activities, such tools de-mounting, transport, intermediate stocks, etc. One of the vehicle projects amounted to 120 fully loaded trucks for the project. The interaction with the client is very important, having the flexibility in both management of the project, and production facilities. EBP has invested more than 10 million â‚¬ the last years in state-of-the-art equipment to manage several OEM and different technologies.
We also had a complete aluminum car projects including all closures with Audi plus hoods and tailgates for another vehicle during the last 12 month, where the work in assembly engineering has been very important.
AI: How do you plan to increase business from original equipment manufacturers?
EBP focus is low-series production, after-market and OEM deliveries. Our production technology is set up for up to approximately 40,000 units per year. The development in the industry is an increasing amount of different variant and models on the same chassis, which will give a higher amount of body panels and closures, i.e coupe doors, sports tail-gates, etc. in our segment. We are today delivering to Aston Martin, Jaguar and Volvo Trucks for OEM production.
AI: How successful have you been in getting business from non-European businesses? Please give us some examples.
EBP are focusing on customers, which have a production site in Europe, in order to have the inter-action for project management. We have although been investigation US market and in our relation with Honda, had discussions about both Asia and US markets.
AI: Is out-sourcing after-market parts a trend that is growing and if so, by how much do you think this business will grow by?
The trend is that OEM are looking for low-series solutions, as the models are continuously increasing, both for after market and series production. The out-sourcing of after market is increasing since a couple of years, and the trend is now also coming to low series OEM production. EBPs business plan includes continuous growth of more than 10 % per year.
AI: Do you have any plans to offer out-sourcing from other locations apart from Olofstrom?
The A-class panels and closures, i.e. hoods, doors, fenders, etc., will we continue to have delivery responsibility from our site in OlofstrÃ¶m, although we have relation with suppliers in both western and eastern Europe for inner panels, structures, reinforcements etc.
The industry is developing rapidly and EBP are taking part in that development. Co-operations and development in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, will probably give new delivery sites for the industry.
AI: Is EBP in the process of tying up with any other OEMs and if so, which ones?
EBP have in the business plan to expand with a few major clients in Europe, which we are planning to see during 2007 and 2008.