Business segment of closure systems equipped for the future
(from l. to r.) Werner Schmaderer, Director Quality Parts from BMW’s Regensburg plant, Birgit Behrendt, Vice-President Purchasing Ford Europe, Michael Stoschek, President and CEO of the Brose Group, Martina Merz, Executive Vice President Closure Systems and Peter Jung, Wuppertal’s Lord Mayor, during the ceremony marking the completion of far-reaching restructuring measures in development, production, administration and organization at the location of Wuppertal.
Brose has carried out far-reaching restructuring measures in development, production, administration and organization, thus creating the pre-requisites for cost effectiveness and growth in the business segment of closure systems.
By 2007, the Brose Group will have invested some 130 million euros in the closure system business which was taken over from Bosch three years ago. The location of Wuppertal however has still got a long way to go before it can produce at a competitive rate. "The only way we will be able to retain our competitive edge is to constantly develop our products and processes even further," said Michael Stoschek, President and CEO of the Brose Group, in his speech. Brose is the third-largest producer of closure systems in Germany, generating sales amounted of some 216 million euros in the business year 2004. The company's long-term aim is to become the market leader in this area. Over the past three years, Brose has developed from being a producer of latches to a globally operating partner for opening/closing components in vehicles, producing closure systems at six international locations: in Wuppertal, Tondela (Portugal), Roznov and Ostrava (Czech Republic), Detroit (USA) and Querétaro (Mexico).
In 2004, the product portfolio was extended to include products designed to open and close side-doors, liftgates and trunk lids electrically. This year, Brose introduced a number of product innovations from the field of closure systems. These include the world innovation which Brose presented at this year's international motor show in Frankfurt (IAA): the „Soft Open“® latch, which acoustically and mechanically dampens side-doors and gates, enabling easier and quieter opening and closing.
In her speech, Birgit Behrendt, Vice-President Purchasing from Ford Europe, underscored the effects a trust-based partnership between automaker and supplier can have on market success: "The business development of the Brose Group is quite remarkable. The company has evolved from being a producer of components to a leading supplier of systems for vehicle doors and seats, supporting us at many locations all over the world."
Brose currently supplies Ford Europe from three plants in Germany, the Czech Republic and Portugal with latches for the car models Fiesta/Fiesta Fusion, Focus/C-Max, KA/Street KA, Galaxy, Mondeo and Transit.
Werner Schmaderer, Director Quality Parts from BMW's Regensburg plant also expressed his thanks for the company's partnershiplike collaboration with BMW: "For us, you are one of the most important producers of equipment for premium class vehicles."
Wuppertal's Lord Mayor, Peter Jung, praised the commitment of the automotive supplier to Wuppertal: "I am particularly pleased that the company of Brose is expanding its facilities here. By doing so, Brose, as a family-owned company and a leading producer of closure systems, is demonstrating its unequivocal commitment to Wuppertal. Apart from its willingness to invest in future-oriented products and intelligent manufacturing equipment, a clear sign of the company's confidence in Wuppertal as a business location, Brose also supports numerous activities, which help to market and raise the profile of our town. That's why the company was awarded the Wuppertal Economy Price in 2004."
A year ago, Brose commenced streamlining activities in Wuppertal. The production and administration areas, which had previously been housed in two separate premises located in the Schöne Aussicht and Otto-Hahn Straße, have now been combined into one facility in the Ronsdorfer industrial park. In order to accelerate the material flow, production and logistics, which used to be scattered throughout five buildings, are now accommodated in one hall. The appearance of the buildings at the Brose location in Wuppertal externalizes what Brose stands for: innovation, cost effectiveness, systematic thought and quality.
Old buildings have been renovated, existing premises have been modified. Administration and production areas have been equipped with state-of-the-art office and communications technology as well as leading edge manufacturing equipment. Employees in both production and administration areas all work in a similar environment and along the lines of the same organizational models implemented at the other 36 Brose locations.
In the course of these restructuring activities, the "New Brose Organizational Model" was also introduced at the Wuppertal location. The organizational model is designed to reduce costs in the administration and development areas, to increase efficiency and to enhance employee motivation. Core elements include a mobile furnishing system with desk-sharing, leading-edge communications technology, variable working time as well as remuneration based on results as opposed to the amount of time spent in the company.
There are currently 690 employees working at the location of Wuppertal. Some 140 are engaged in the development of new products and processes.
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