By Iren Bencze, December 6, 2008
Kecskemét, Hungary: On December 5, 2008, an over 700 strong audience attended the conference called by ITD Hungary to inform potential local suppliers about the possibilities, requirements, and guidelines for obtaining contracts with Daimler AG or becoming subcontractors of one of its actual suppliers, based on their demands, requirements, and purchasing process.
Gordon Bajnai, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development opened the morning session with a brief reference to the current financial and economic crisis, but instead of creating panic, he called on the audience to look ahead into the future, identify new possibilities, draft new plans, discover new markets and new resources, and press forward. He emphasized that the automotive industry is such a significant economic resource that the government will step in to help its suppliers to survive the financial/economic crisis.
In order to bolster “the industry of long-term cooperation”, the government offers loans, up to 50% matching funds, and even non-refundable financial support in certain areas. Besides helping suppliers in meeting expectations for research, development and innovation, organization, and quality assurance, the government wants to make sure that suppliers will be able to keep their qualified work force as well. However, suppliers themselves will have to step up to fight for the market. And the way to win that battle is to set up partnerships and industry clusters that in turn can also apply for government grants.
Eberhard Gloger, Senior Manager Procurement at Daimler AG, MFA introduced the “Mercedes-Benz Front wheel drive Architecture” (MFA) project, the role and tasks of the procurement department, and the status of the procurement process, schedules, etc., emphasizing the rigorous requirements and procedures for becoming a supplier. One thing that could be deducted from his presentation was that in order to become a Daimler supplier, one needs to familiarize themselves with the Daimler philosophy, what the company stands for, how the company operates, what its goals are. Once these are clear to the potential suppliers, they can perform a self evaluation, and if they find themselves fit for the job, they need to contact ITD Hungary, which assists both parties in the screening process.
Other representatives of the automotive industry, including Suzuki Hungary, GM, and BMW also shared information about the requirements and processes of becoming a supplier, and current suppliers of the automotive industry shared their experiences in a more familiar setting, during the afternoon session closed to the media.
As emphasized by László Süveges-Szabó, Business Development Director, ITD Hungary, this Automotive Supplier Conference at Kecskemét was but a first step in a several years preparation and development process, and ITD Hungary’s Automotive Supplier Program is there to help potential suppliers operating in Hungary to actually become suppliers of OEMs.
A door opened at the Kecskemét conference, and those looking ahead (beyond the financial crisis) and planning for the long term are welcome to step in, enter professional unions, clubs and clusters, attend future supplier conferences, build networks, share information, and join forces to stay on the market. Mayor Gábor Zombor, Municipality of Kecskemét, hopes to see many Kecskemét based companies and numerous Hungarian businesses enter this circle of “reliability, performance, and trust”.