World Class Manufacturing with a Local Emphasis
AAPICO Hitech has a strong vantage point from the top of Thailand’s manufacturing tree, and is subsequently preparing for the latest stage of its development through a commitment to lean and sustainable operations
Writer Matthew Staff
Project Manager Tom Cullum
AAPICO Hitech is maintaining an aggressive expansion strategy which has served it well over the past two decades, to ensure the company’s ongoing development amid a more competitive global market.
Founded in 1996 and listed on the Thai Stock Exchange in 2002, the manufacturing organisation has grown consistently over the years as a result of acquisitions and organic growth in lucrative industries, resulting in a Group which currently consists of 34 subsidiary and associate companies; 25 of which remain in the business’s native Thailand.
Now, with its international influence and its principles engrained, AAPICO Hitech is keen to capitalise further on the globally significant partnerships in place in the automotive sector and the sustainable initiatives that President and CEO, Yeap Swee Chuan, prides the company on.
Surviving in a Competitive World
The Malaysian-born businessman has overseen the entire rise of the conglomerate since the embryonic venture, Able Autopart Industries Co. Ltd. (AAPICO) made its mark in the late 1980s as a Ford Assembler and Distributor in Thailand.
Since then, the company has diversified and expanded to become one of the most renowned players in the automotive industry, attaining contracts for names every bit as synonymous with automotive prominence as Ford.
Joint ventures with the likes of Continental and Sumino for elite customers including GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, BMW , Land Rover, Nissan, Yamaha, Suzuki and Volvo, to name but a few, have enabled the business to grow to its current, all-encompassing position.
Throughout the 34-strong portfolio of subsidiaries, AAPICO places strong emphasis on reaching its goal of achieving ‘WCM’ (World Class Manufacturing). Comprising cutting edge technologies in its factories as well as best practice engineering procedures and state-of-the-art technologies, the business aims to mould these processes together with its TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) procedures and its ongoing work in optimising lean initiatives.
Gaining a plethora of accreditations and awards on its route towards WCM, AAPICO has earmarked a further 10 years of continuous improvement to reach its desired levels, to ensure the company continues to “survive in a competitive world”.
Working in Harmony
The ability to compete consistently and to attain increasingly higher market shares has driven APPICO to the strong position it holds today, and has been achieved in line with the company’s core vision, “to become a lean and happy world class organisation with four fundamental values”.
Happy customers, happy employees, happy shareholders and happy public remain the key pillars that strategic decisions are made upon, and formulate AAPICO’s stringent sustainability drive.
“We believe that good corporate governance is an important factor in order to increase the Company’s value for shareholders and promote sustainable growth for the company,” the organisation explains. “Having a good corporate governance demonstrates that the Company’s management systems are efficient, transparent, and auditable.”
“All these help create trust and confidence amongst shareholders, investors, stakeholders and all relevant parties, leading to steady and sustainable growth.”
Building a reputation in Thailand based on these assets has been invaluable to attaining new business and market-leading customers over the years, and has led to the smooth running of the business’s internal structures.
Where the company is equally prevalent though, is enhancing the lives of people outside of the company, placing the same commitment it has towards its own financial growth into areas of Corporate Social Responsibility. “The Company intends to build a sustainable CSR Strategy for the Thai society, to live in harmony with the environment. Many of the projects concentrate on helping the society, environment and education,” AAPICO continues.
Initiatives include work alongside local charities and schools, regular donations to affiliate associations and, perhaps most sustainably andimportantly, its local ethos in regards to employment and skills development.
Working in tandem with local academic institutions, AAPICO has helped budding engineers attain numerous scholarships and qualifications over the years; many of which have repaid the company’s faith by implementing their honed skills within the business for years to come across the many subsidiaries.
Looking forward and AAPICO has every reason to be positive, having established the necessary customer base and industry notoriety over nearly 20 years.
While 2013 saw modest growth – a revenue increase of one percent to Baht 16,998 – this was still amid several financial adjustments within the company as well as the early signs of a general downturn in the automotive industry. Further challenges in 2014 have similarly stunted the kinds of drastic growth that AAPICO has enjoyed in previous years, but in comparison to market competitors, the business will still maintain its leading position in the future through its international connections and subsequent potential for joint ventures and partnerships.
“2013 was a reasonable year for the Group with wide fluctuations between the first and second half,” Chuan explained in his end-ofyear statement.
He went on to emphasise however, that the general outlook for the automotive sector in Thailand remains promising, despite social and political drawbacks.
The ongoing increase in car production and relatively reasonable sale prices means that the battle is on to provide the best offering, and through AAPICO Hitech’s strive for world class operations, best practice and lean development, the company looks equipped with the sustainability required to achieve its post-2020 goal of manufacturing perfection.