Innovative ideas in Wujiang

04.06.2020

Innovative ideas in Wujiang

Wujiang District, part of Suzhou, is one of the most economically successful cities in China. The district has a well-developed manufacturing industry. So much that its location, bordering Shanghai, has attracted over 1,300 foreign companies that have invested a total of USD 10 billion (€ 9.2 billion) in the city. FUCHS is one of them.

China is an important market for FUCHS and the site of the company’s new Suzhou-Wujiang intelligent plant. “China is so important because the market is so big and so attractive,” Zhu Qingping, Chief Executive Officer of FUCHS China, says.

Wujiang’s location is key because of its proximity to an important industry: the automotive industry with the original equipment manufacturers or OEMs and the suppliers, that is, any company that manufactures parts for use in new vehicles. “European manufacturers and OEMs play a very big role in China, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and BMW are very important names there,” Zhu Qingping says.

The plant’s location is also a reflection of two of FUCHS’ important goals in China: Building the most advanced factory globally, and at the same time, focusing on the customer. “The most important things for us are our approach to the customer and the customer connection,” Zhu Qingping says.

Zhu Qingping, Chief Executive of FUCHS China, about the new production plant and innovative ideas in China.

20%
is FUCHS China’s market share in the OEM market, making it the most important lubricant supplier in the automotive industry in China.

CUSTOMER NEEDS

That connection will allow FUCHS to better serve its customers all over the globe. While Chinese customers have specific needs that FUCHS meets with innovative ideas and highly evolved technological processes, the increasing expertise and growing experience of FUCHS in China will benefit its customers around the globe, says Zhu Qingping.

Because China only started building factories in the years following the World Trade Agreement in 2001, production plants in China are among the most modern ones around the globe, according to Zhu Qingping. “We are lucky because we didn’t have a legacy issue.”

The fully automatic one-liter filling line.
There are ten high-speed automatic filling lines in the filling workshop.
One of the most advanced factories on the globe with fully integrated systems stands in Suzhou-Wujiang.
The industry-leading automated highbay warehouse is fully connected to the other systems of the plant.
The blending workshop uses advanced automation technology.

 

SAP BRAIN

FUCHS’ intelligent plant, opened in 2019, is no exception: The factory’s design with its 80,000 square meters of space follows the Industry 4.0 concept, including an industry-leading automated high-bay warehouse, an automatic control system for production as well as fully automated filling lines and conveying system. By the end of the year, a comprehensive SAP system will integrate all of these new systems, making it the intelligent driver for the Suzhou plant.

But all the technology used in the plant is not just to gain speed or save floor space. In the end, the goal is to improve the customers’ experience. In the future, the SAP system will allow FUCHS to evolve to a direct-to-consumer model. “Once we receive an order, everything will be fully connected and until that customer receives the product, they can follow the progress,” explains Zhu Qingping. This means a shift away from a business-to-business model and towards a business-to-customer model.

80000
square meters of space has the FUCHS Suzhou-Wujiang intelligent plant.

MORE THAN 20 SEGMENTS

Another strategy that FUCHS uses to meet its customers’ needs is the division of the Chinese industry into several segments. Instead of looking at a customer as a set of numbers, FUCHS tries to understand a customer’s unique needs. Market and customer focus is one of the cornerstones in FUCHS’ strategy.

Market segmentation will allow FUCHS to build stronger ties to its customers and offer more value with segments-based market intelligence and knowledge. This strategic cornerstone is just one part of FUCHS’s vision: Being first choice for lubrication solutions.

“If you‘re trying to deliver performance by figures, you don‘t understand the customer,“ according to Zhu Qingping. “What is really important is that you really understand the customer’s pain and needs, and design a unique offer based on your strengths to win over the competition,” Zhu Qingping explains.

The factory’s design allows the industry 4.0 concept with a fully automatic filling line and conveying system.

E-MOBILITY

One of the segments is e-mobility, an industry in which China is the global leader. E-vehicle sales in China are the largest globally. In 2018, combined manufacturer sales reached over one million e-cars in the People’s Republic for the first time, more than half of total global production during the same year.

For this market, FUCHS China established a special team to focus on the e-mobility opportunity and start to develop related products for this application. “In e-mobility, the need is basically driven by the motor, which is a high speed motor,“ says Zhu Qingping, “And also, the vehicle is very quiet.” This meant that fluids had to be developed that would minimize noise inside the quieter e-vehicles.

FUCHS also saw potential for additional products and identified a need for multifunctional fluids, such as thermal fluids, the need to take into account influences on wear, corrosion and electrical conductivity as well as the need for tailor-made technology with sustainable raw materials.

MEETING FUTURE NEEDS

Part of FUCHS’ goal is to understand not only the customers’ current needs, but also how their needs might change in the future. As autonomous electric vehicles become a distinct possibility, changing needs have to be taken into account in product development. “Since customers may not want to spend time maintaining these vehicles, they need long-life products,” says Zhu Qingping.

While China is a laboratory for the rest of the world, says Zhu Qingping, FUCHS will adapt to the different markets, again using the most advanced technology to offer the best customer focus.

PRODUCTS PRODUCED IN THE
SUZHOU-WUJIANG PLANT

  • automotive oil
  • industrial oils
  • metal-working oils and fluids
  • corrosion protection oil
  • forging lubricants
  • lubrication coatings

 

 

汤姆叔叔