Founded in 1975, Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG), which was a partnership between a mother and son, combines the power of innovation and product quality to create world class products that cater to customer needs across diverse industries, especially automotive. The Group has a diversified industry-leading portfolio of auto ancillary products and services that make it a full system solutions provider for its customers across the globe.
With products ranging from Electrical Distribution Systems, automotive rear-view mirrors, polymer processing, lighting systems, air intake manifolds and HVAC systems, the Group’s principal focus is the automotive industry, globally and in India. SMG is a leading supplier to automotive industry globally. It also serves wide number of other industries. The Group recorded a turnover of USD 9.1 billion (approx.) during 2016-17.
Mr. Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Chairman, Samvardhana Motherson Group, explained to Automotive Script, through e-mail, what makes the company successful and about its global presence.
Take us through the journey of your company?
Motherson was born through a partnership between my mother and me, hence the name. Our vision is to be a globally preferred solutions provider and the focus is always on the customer. We’ve been lucky to have incredible partnerships with our partners and customers alike.
Over the years the Group has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing specialised automotive component manufacturing companies for OEMs. Today, the Samvardhana Motherson Group works with 26 joint venture partners with operations in 37 countries across North America, South America, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia. Our broad range of products is manufactured in more than 230 facilities across the globe by over 1,24,000 professionals.
Tell us more about your product portfolio.
The strategy has always been to increase the content per car, which has been fundamental to our growth. Towards this, we have a significant number of components that we make catering to different customers depending on their requirements. While the portfolio range is comprehensive, it is also as diverse as the geographies we operate in, the customers we support and their product range. In view of this we would now say we are ‘increasing the content per vehicle’. Motherson is a solution provider, and when a customer comes to us for the solution to a problem we do that, and that is what we do.
The business portfolio comprises electrical distribution systems (wiring harnesses), rear view mirrors, polymer processing, injection moulding tools, elastomer processing, modules and systems including cockpits /IPs, door trims, bumpers, lighting systems, air intake manifolds, pedal assemblies, HVAC systems, vehicle air conditioning systems, machined metal products, cutting tools, IT services, engineering and design, CAE services, cabins for off-highway vehicles, environment management systems, cutting tools and thin film coating metals. The Group has invested in technologies that provide manufacturing support including compressors, paint coating equipment, auxiliary equipment for injection moulding machines and automotive manufacturing engineering services.
SMG supports its customers from the initial stages of product development, including conceptualisation, designing, prototyping and tool manufacturing. This ability of the Group to provide end-to-end designing and manufacturing solutions to its customers helps it in becoming a preferred solution provider to its customers globally.
Do you see South India as a lucrative emerging automotive hub? What are the advantages and the challenges?
We work with all major customers in the South of India and have over 25 facilities there. We go where our customers are and where they need us so geographies for us are determined by our customers.
Tell us about your manufacturing units
SMG has over 230 facilities across 37 countries. We go where our clients are and where they need us. Our latest facilities were opened in Mosonszolnok, Kecskemet and Turkeve at Hungary, Incheon and Cheongju city at South Korea, Yancheng at China, Tuscaloosa in the US and Pithampur and Chennai in India. We pride ourselves on best practices including QCDDMSES, which is Quality, Cost, Delivery, Development, Management, Safety, Environment, Safety. Every plant matters and further cements our reputation for quality excellence.
While we are primarily an automotive solutions provider, we take great pride in our ability to find solutions that could be game changers as well. For instance, in Australia when the automotive industry moved out of the country, we pivoted our facilities to manufacture medical equipment and other innovative products to ensure that the plants stayed open.
Tell us more about your R&D facilities.
We have over 24 R&D facilities globally which add to the technology and engineering capabilities of the Group. We have research and development centres across all our product verticals. The Group presently has over 1000 patents.
What are your expansion plans?
We don’t expand or acquire for the sake of it – it is almost always at the customers’ behest or to meet a customer need. We believe that once we have reached 80 percent capacity in a plant, it is time for expansion. Considering the number of products we have and geographies, this is something that we are constantly looking at. Similarly, with business expansion, it is always to serve a larger purpose. We’ve always believed that top line is vanity, bottom line is sanity and cash in the bank is a reality. That philosophy has helped us grow the way we have. Our efforts continue to be towards providing best-suited solutions to our customers, serving more geographies, getting new technologies and raising the bar for ourselves.
How prepared are you for the BSVI emission norms coming into effect from 2020?
Advanced electronics control modern vehicles and their engines for effective combustion and performance. The BS VI system needs highly accurate real time response using additional information for offering high vehicle performance and clean emissions. Towards this, huge electronics systems are getting added. Connectivity solutions (Wiring Harness) for this complex system are also becoming specialized.
Significantly higher amount of advanced technology – miniature, lighter, more intelligent and compact wiring hardware is required for effective functioning of such complex electronics systems. To support this, advanced wiring manufacturing processes will therefore be required to build such complex connectivity (wiring) solutions. With its global experience in people, products, process and technologies, we are poised to capitalize on this opportunity.
With new technologies coming up every day for automotive industry, what do you think will be the next big ‘invention’ or ‘application’ in this sector?
We believe in being ready for whatever our customers would need from us, so through our close connections to them and with ‘Motherson innovations’ acting as an internal coordinator for invention and new technology within the group we have the ability to understand the industry trends and the needs of our customers.