Door handle component technology may not get as much press attention as the latest engine innovations or concept cars, but they are often the first interactions we have with our vehicles. Hushan Autoparts, the company behind many of the car handles and other components on the market, is leveling up its processes through digital transformation to stay ahead of competitors and serve even greater numbers of customers.
Responsible for 60-70% of the car handle aftermarket – including brands like BMW, Cadillac, Ford, and Tesla – New Taipei-based Hushan employs more than 260 people. The company is now expanding its manufacturing and R&D capabilities at several sites across the city. To facilitate its rapid expansion, Hushan moved into its new headquarters in 2020. The company is currently waiting for the completion of its new logistics center in Ruifang in the northeast of New Taipei, which together with its new headquarters and other factories will allow it to triple its capacity.
Hushan offers a range of aftermarket auto components from handles and hinges to cameras and sensors for most leading car brands and their downstream suppliers. North and Central America and Europe represent 80% of the company’s sales. Half of that portion is in the United States, where Hushan has facilities in California to develop and test cameras and sensors for the American market.
Beyond its world-leading product offerings, Hushan has sped up lead times and shipping through several digital transformation efforts. “Our transformation plans were approved by the board in 2021, and have been implemented since then, both short- and long-term strategies,” says Hushan account manager Shawn Guo, who is responsible for Hushan’s North and Central America, and Europe markets.
“By implementing a new CRM system, we can track interactions with our customers and potential leads and use cloud technology in our supply chain management to streamline our supply chain operations,” he adds.
The company has also introduced robots and other automation tools to its manufacturing processes in order to increase efficiency, control labor costs, and ensure orders are met on time. Hushan produces 1,000 cameras daily, with a full capacity of 5,000 a day. It is also investing US$300,000 to make its camera production line fully automated.
The decision to embrace digital tools has started to pay off for Hushan, which reports increased customer satisfaction and shorter fulfillment times for orders. One of Hushan’s largest U.S. clients, now rates the company 95% for satisfaction, up from 75% before the changes were introduced. It has also led to enhanced ties with Hushan’s suppliers, who are able to check requirements online and reduce the risk of missed connections or forgotten-about email orders.
“These digital innovations help us to be more efficient and more customer-centric and have also helped us reduce our costs,” says Guo. “This helps us stay more competitive in the industry. We can also adapt to market changes and respond to customers’ needs more quickly and efficiently, which positions us for sustainable growth in the future.” Hushan estimates that efficiency has increased between 10 and 15% since making these changes.
While only 10% of Hushan’s current revenue comes from cameras, the company expects its camera replacement business to grow to as much as 50% as older models will need to be swapped out, particularly after regulations passed in 2018 in the United States and Canada that requires backup cameras on all new models.
And what of the humble car handle? Guo notes that by embracing technological and digital innovations across its business, Hushan looks set to stay ahead of changes in the automotive industry.
“Maybe in the future, there won’t be any door handles – you’ll scan your fingerprint or face to access the vehicle, and there may not be physical buttons or handles. So, for us, this is motivation to continue to innovate ourselves.”