Business has developed at record speed since AP&T opened its office in Shanghai in 2009. With a clear focus on equipment for advanced forming within safety and lightweight components for cars, the company has grown from 5 to 23 employees in five years. It has also established itself as a leading supplier of complete press hardening lines to both international players with production in China and Chinese producers that focus on the domestic market. Today, 18 million cars are produced in China a year, and the volume is expected to grow substantially over the next few years.
Being part of the development in the Chinese automotive industry has been a conscious strategy for AP&T. As a result of listening to our customers and adapting the offer to the market’s needs and wishes, the strategy has borne fruit.
“When we got to China, we had successful installations for prominent European customers such as Fiat, VW and Magna under our belt. Now, though, our most important installations when speaking to new customers are those we have supplied to Baosteel, FAW and Great Wall Motor, for example,” says Joachim Ullberg, who is the Director Sales and Marketing Asia at AP&T in Shanghai.
The recipe for success has involved hiring and training employees locally in China who understand the circumstances and business culture. AP&T sees a great deal of potential over the next few years for its automation solutions, which include a broad product program and know-how that can improve customers’ profitability. The strategy primarily involves developing service and aftermarket services to ensure that the delivered installations continue to be profitable over time. Consequently, new service technicians are being recruited and trained in order to provide the security and safety customers need to get the most out of their installations.
“You could say that we are entering a second and more mature phase,” says Joachim Ullberg. “It is not merely a matter of delivering an excellent solution with a high degree of availability and profitability to our customers. We also need to help them achieve sustainable profitability so that they buy from us next time. And the time after that.”