“Things Will Not Get Better by Chance But They Will Get Better by Change”
Daimler’s strategy for commercial vehicles also makes much account of business in Asia, including Japan, which accelerates cooperation with suppliers. In this context, Satyakam Arya gave interviews to both a Japanese newspaper and international Daimler staff.
Daimler Trucks Asia (DTA) jointly operates Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC ) – an icon of the Japanese commercial vehicle industry with more than 80 years of its history – and Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), a young challenger in the Indian market. DTA has a strategic business model that allows its group entities to collaborate in product development, production, exports, sourcing, and research activity to provide the best of value products.
Daimler’s strategy for commercial vehicles also makes much account of business in Asia, including Japan. In this context, Satyakam Arya, Head of Procurement Trucks Asia at Daimler, revealed his view on parts, performance, and suppliers. In Japan, Asia, and on a global scale. He spoke to Yutaka Kimura from Nikkan Jidosha, a leading newspaper for the automobile industry, about Daimler’s strategy for purchasing commercial vehicle parts. At Daimler, he gave insights into his work module within the Daimler Trucks Asia Rising (DTAR) program.
How do you consider the procurement environment in Japan?
Arya: We request suppliers to provide parts with strong competitiveness. Deepening a relationship between our company and the world is also an essential element in addition to the high performance of the part itself. Considering these points, I think that we can form a deeper relationship with Japanese suppliers. I have no doubt that they are important not only for MFTBC but also for Daimler.
What is the medium-term challenge for parts procurement?
Arya: We are now proceeding with many projects in order to reinforce supply chains. I wish that realization of them can build up our superiority and moreover can increase competitive power of suppliers. For these purposes, we promote activities to build a win-win relationship in cooperation with Japanese and Asian suppliers. We also give high priority to improving staff’s skills. Market circumstances in the world often become unstable. We will train them so that they can manage suppliers smoothly in such Environments.
Does a rapid fluctuation in exchange affect procurement?
Arya: It actually impacts on procurement with a short-term view. However, I can say that there is little influence with a long-term view. Because the Daimler Group has a global network and keeps the business best as a whole including MFTBC. It always considers the best way for parts procurement and finds the best place where parts should be purchased. It does not see only the cost. Finding innovative parts in the world that lead to new technology across the entire group is also an important policy of procurement. MFTBC also contributes to increasing competitive power of the whole group from now on.
Do you have any countermeasures for the disruption of supply chains because of disasters?
Arya: We have learned much from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. We made risk maps and continuously update them. Just in case, we can grasp quickly suppliers’ damage state and any changes in lead time. We always consider not only getting information from suppliers, but also whether MFTBC can support them when disaster occurs.
How do you see the competitive power of parts made in Asia?
Arya: For suppliers we always check whether the part meets the quality level as we expect. We judge suppliers strictly before selecting them. We don’t do business until these standards are satisfied. Based on our experience until now I think that many Asian suppliers are on a high level and we want to do business with them.
What is the outline and target of the DTAR work module you are leading?
Arya:‘Competition makes us faster; Collaboration makes us better’ aptly describes the work module ‘Material Efficiency and Partnerships’. This work-module is focused on profitability and sustainability as key deliverables while collaborating with both internal and external stakeholders.
What would you like to focus on to lead the activity?
Arya: Eventually, things will not get better by chance but they will get better by change. So rather than resisting change, we need to proactively pursue them. We need to challenge conventional wisdom and the established way of doing things. First, we need to take a step back, look at the target that we have for the next five years and then evaluate our current situation. We need to have a clear understanding of where we need to be and the awareness of our capabilities. This will inspire us to go out of our comfort zones and take the right decisions to achieve these targets. We will come up with innovative solutions through increased collaboration with our internal and external Partners.
External stakeholders like suppliers, dealers, distributors and service providers are instrumental in communicating the brand values of Fuso to our end customer. Having strong and reliable partners that have the same conviction as us is imperative to our growth strategy. To increase our collaboration with our high-performing suppliers, we have already rolled-out a program called ‘Partners for Asia’. 47 suppliers were selected based on their performance and honored with the title of ‘Partners for Asia’ in a special event conducted in July. During various interactions and individual meetings, the suppliers presented very innovative, pragmatic and impactful ideas.