Industry Watch


NAFTA NEWCOMERS

In recent months two offshore suppliers have set up shop in North America—a Pacific Rim press supplier and a European tool engineering firm.

Yuh Dak North America Inc., a subsidiary of Yuh-Dak Machinery Co. Ltd. of Taiwan, has established a sales, service, and demonstration facility in Aurora, ON. Its mission is to market what a company source calls its high-productivity, easily maintained, and very affordable line of vertical machines.

Gram Technology Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ is the U.S. office of the Danish mold engineering firm of the same name. Gram Technology’s specialty is its Spin Stack technology, which features rotating core/cavity segments within a stack mold.

This approach is said to double the output of more conventional rotating stack molds, while allowing any number of automated finishing operations to be performed prior to part ejection.
It licenses its technology. Nypro and The Tech Group reportedly have signed up. You can see them at K 2004 in the Tech Mold booth (Hall 1, Stand D29).—CK


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SAYONARA, BIG THREE

U.S. automotive suppliers continue to shift their loyalties and their resources to Japanese customers, leaving the Big Three in the dust. That’s the big news in the annual OEM-Tier One Supplier Working Relations Study. It was conducted in July by Planning Perspectives Inc. (PPI; Birmingham, MI).

The study says U.S. automakers continue to hammer suppliers for price reductions and multimillion-dollar cash givebacks, while continuing to give their suppliers less support. The Big Three treat their suppliers more like adversaries than partners, and are lousy communicators (see Table 1).

Here’s what the report says is going on:

  • Toyota, Honda, and Nissan supplier working relationships are rapidly outpacing those with Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.
  • Suppliers are shifting their capital and R&D expenditures, service, and support to the Japanese Big Three, while reducing the same for the domestic Big Three.
  • Suppliers are increasing product quality at a greater rate for Japanese OEMs, but merely maintaining quality levels for U.S. automakers.
    Want to hear more? Try these on for size:
  • Supplier trust of Ford and GM has never been lower, while trust for the Japanese OEMs has never been higher.
  • There’s a better chance of making acceptable returns with the “foreign domestics” than with the “domestic domestics.”
  • Suppliers overwhelmingly prefer working with Toyota or Honda.

Overall results of the annual surveys are summarized in PPI’s OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index. Japanese automakers continue to climb the quality partnering scale, while U.S. automakers remain stuck at the bottom (see Table 2).

The 2004 survey involved responses from 223 Tier Ones, including 36 of the top 50, and was based on 852 different possible buying situations. PPI sources say the suppliers participating in the survey have combined sales representing 48% of the OEMs’ annual component purchases.
To get a copy of the survey, call PPI at (248) 644-7690.—CK

Micromolding is an advanced technology focus in the Nypro Precision Lab. It houses micropresses from Nissei, Sumitomo, and Milacron Fanuc. You can see them next May, when UMass Lowell celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Nick Rosato.

TRAINING TOMORROW'S SPECIALISTS

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