Pictured: Global awards received by TR

The sales focus this year has been on the'World of Opportunity'. With an already established global footprint, we were in an enviable position to develop further the global reach and a local presence concept. The challenges this year have been very different to the previous three years, and have required different approaches and skills to develop further with the major multinational OEMs that we supply, and extend it to the rest of the customer base as required.

The enhanced requirements of these OEMs have been demanding, but instead of seeing these as issues we have embraced the challenges. These range from RoHS 2 legislation on products coming into the European market place and the testing of parts to prove there are no inherent banned substances, to IT developments such as self bill and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Our attitude and willingness to support these requests in a timely manner has been appreciated, and elevates our status as many competitors fight the inevitable. This is not customer compliance, but an acceptance that service and support is a key differentiator.

Trifast hierarchy

Typical roll-out of sales to multinationals

Pictured (left to right): TR Group Marketing Team, Tom Dewhurst, Abi Burnett and Anjanita Eldridge

We have dedicated teams in place to ensure that RoHS2, conflict materials and carbon emissions are handled professionally. This enables us to fully comply with legislation and satisfy customer audits and vendor questionnaires. Having in-house IT support and programmers gives us the immediacy and technical knowhow to meet these needs.

In a very competitive world the levels of service and support that we give our customers is very important. The true value of the Vendor Managed Inventory systems (VMI) giving lean build cannot be underestimated, eliminating costs in holding and managing product and reducing the vendor base all have an intrinsic value to the customer.

End of life projects and build changes ran at a higher level this year, but we have replaced this business with new contracts that have longevity. In the automotive sector these contracts are typically for a six year period. A high percentage of this replacement business is within this sector which has the advantage of having fewer but higher volume parts compared to other sectors. This will be further reflected in the 2013/2014 figures as these contracts build in volume after the initial start-up of production. The way we handle new parts/business introduction has been modelled on the TS 16949 AQPQ process and we have fully trained NPI personnel controlling this key area at all hub sites. This ensures that we meet feasibility criteria, time lines, and eliminate risk to either our company or our customers. This is a global programme so that we have a consistent process with the same customer irrespective of where they are serviced.

Project Management is another key area of sales development. Managing enquiries where the same parts are required on three continents to multiple sites for the same OEM are now common, as the OEMs try to leverage their group usages and spends. To coordinate these across the TR business takes special skills. This involves logistics and finance teams input, an in depth understanding of freight and duty tariffs on product being sourced, managing currencies and preparing quotations tailored to encompass all of these factors. The global enquiry portal developed by TR personnel in-house is the central repository that is used as a common platform in the business and tracks all aspects of the quotation. We also have project managers on the Strategic team who work with sales, sourcing, quality and logistics in preparing the final quotations. This has proved to be very successful, and is a key component of new business development.

"This year we have required different approaches and skills to develop further with the major multinational OEMs that we supply, and extend it to the rest of the customer base as required"

Glenda RobertsGroup Sales Director

"A number of the platform builds we supply into for JLR, Nissan and Volvo will now be replicated in China"

Glenda RobertsGroup Sales Director

Pictured: Jeremy Scholefield TR Global Sales

Pictured: Zoltan Csengeri TR Hungary

TR Shanghai Glenda Roberts

Pictured (left to right): Lily Li, Helen Zhang from TR Shanghai with Glenda Roberts

The Group marketing team have been very proactive during this year. Having this facility in-house is just invaluable as we can react swiftly to the business needs, and take advantage at short notice of opportunities to support the sales teams. The enhancements to the website, new brochures, support for product launches, new high impact exhibition stands used globally, and promotional activity all keep us ahead of the game, and we punch above our weight within our industry. The exposure we have had in trade and industry media using application stories or product launches, has increased substantially. We have also entered the world of social media using Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. We have seen some good results already and are attracting the right kind of 'followers', and fully expect this area to expand rapidly. The website is now in 15 languages, and Russian has been our latest addition as we again follow our customers into new markets. Mini sites have been created off of the main site to specifically focus on certain countries.

Pictured: TR India

Following extensive research we increased our strong product portfolio with the addition of a comprehensive range of plastic and cable management parts. These products were already within our range, but was often just an add on, particularly with customers who required us to manage their category 'C' products. Certain market situations opened our eyes to an opportunity to major on this product and we selected very good vendors in Asia and America to help us launch the range. This is the most comprehensive and well planned market launch we have ever embarked upon. The interest this has created has been significant, as we have offered substitute products to meet demand and expect this to be a 'real alternative' to the dominant brand names in this market. This range is being constantly expanded, and we expect this to be a major revenue earner going forward. We have recruited an experienced plastics brand manager to mastermind this product strategy and sales development on a global basis. Our sales teams are excited by this product range as initially we get quick wins with our existing customers, many of whom have been buying this product from numerous other vendors.

Traditionally, the electronics/telecom sector has been the largest sector within the TR Group. Automotive has now overtaken electronics and represents 33% of the turnover. The electronics sector however taught us, during the first decade of this century, how to follow this business globally as parts were transitioned to lower cost countries, or where we had assisted in the design of parts and were therefore the approved vendor. The countries involved were usually Mexico, China, Hungary and Poland. We are now seeing the emergence of Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and the whole ASEAN Region, being the new areas for development as the OEMs chase new markets or the next lower cost area. The ASEAN Region is of particular interest to us as we have seven manufacturing and distribution sites in this area. There are real benefits for companies setting up in this region, especially if product is manufactured within these 11 countries signed up to the ASEAN trade agreement.

One of the key strategies employed within both sectors is to network out to more locations of the same group as the hard work at corporate level will already have been completed, and we understand their business needs and requirements. TR's global positioning enables us to do this, and the Strategic Teams work with the local TR sites to assist in securing the contracts at local level. Working within the design centres is key, and we have a preference when recruiting to employ more engineers who also possess a commercial aptitude. Product can be designed with an OEM in America, but the production volumes are then potentially required in China, Mexico, India, Slovakia and Thailand. Truly a 'World of Opportunity'.

Pictured: TR Thailand

Pictured: Management team – TR Asia

We have had a very successful year within the automotive sector, and we have been the recipient of prestigious service awards from several Tier1's. Two of these have over 200 sites globally, so the potential is enormous. The acquisition of PSEP in Malaysia and their integration into the TR family has further strengthened our position in the marketplace.

Previously we were limited to supplying product for the car cockpit which encompassed seating, IP console, headliner fixings etc. Whilst these are used in substantial volumes, the value parts are in other parts of the vehicle e.g. braking systems, airbag assemblies, engine and powertrain fastenings.

This is PSEP's core competency and they are supplying the two wheel and four wheel vehicle sector. This gives us a complete supply capability on a vehicle and increases the product offering substantially. The TR European locations servicing the automotive Tier1's are strategically sited close to the manufacturing clusters e.g. North East for Nissan related business, Manchester for the Liverpool sites, Birmingham for the Midlands, Holland for the German and middle European plants, and Sweden for the Scandinavian and Russian market. However, China is the target market that is now our area of focus. A number of the platform builds we supply into for JLR, Nissan and Volvo will now be replicated in China. We are in many cases the approved vendor, and are perfectly positioned to manage this business from our established sites in China. Senior members from the TR Shanghai operations have spent time with our automotive and NPI teams to familiarise themselves with the product supplied, the builds and the quality requirements.

The activity level within sales is high, the enquiry portal is at a healthy level, conversion rates on new business are in line with budgets and I am optimistic about the organic sales for the new year.

'It's all about the opportunities ahead'

Glenda Roberts
Group Sales Director

Pictured (below): Chris Black TR Global Sales,Ron Vlutters TR Holland, Roberto Bianchi TR Sweden