Solid partnership as a stabilizer in fast-moving times

The automotive industry is arguably experiencing the greatest revolution in its history. The megatrends towards electrification and autonomous vehicles are driving forward the transformation relentlessly and influencing the strategic and technological objectives of the industry as a whole. In such a fast-moving market environment, being able to rely on partnerships along the supply chain that are stable and geared towards the long term is a decisive advantage. SFS has now been supplying complex cold forming products to ZF Friedrichshafen for more than 30 years. The large order received recently for a functionally important unit for the second generation integrated braking system (IBC) of ZF demonstrates the strategic importance for ZF of the partnership with SFS.

Added Value

  • Stable and strategic business relationships for mutual further development
  • Product innovation through close development cooperation
  • Added value through the bundling of competencies

We asked Jörg Schaupp, Head of Global Commodity Purchasing at ZF, what sets SFS apart as a supplier.

Joerg Schaupp Portrait_1920px
Jörg Schaupp, Head of Global Commodity Purchasing at ZF

“Mr Schaupp, how do you feel about the collaboration with SFS in general?”

“Our long-standing partnership is characterized by continuity and a high degree of commitment and engagement. As a result, the relationship has blossomed – not just in traditional segments, but also where ZF needs SFS because it is a professional supplier of new technology.”

“How and where does SFS stand out against its competitors?”

“ZF sets high standards for its suppliers to meet – not just in terms of quality, performance and cost efficiency – but also in expecting strategic partners to actively share information concerning innovative technologies and product innovation. SFS has taken a leading role in this respect and has added its own expertise in order to jointly develop new and intelligent solutions. At the same time, we see SFS as a financially strong company which is able to overcome difficult market phases and simultaneously remain stable thanks to its diversification.”

“What do you see as the biggest challenges for SFS in the future?”

“The comprehensive transformation in the automotive industry and the rapidly changing environment – in both the sales and raw material markets – require an unprecedented degree of flexibility. When sudden changes occur, quick and smart reactions are needed. At the same time, a company needs to take a medium and long-term approach to the changes in what customers require in respect of new mobility solutions. In doing so, maintaining a good balance and ensuring healthy profitability is a challenge faced by suppliers and customers alike.”

“How does SFS need to position itself in the future so that the collaborative partnership can be strengthened further?”

“SFS and ZF must continue to maintain a close dialog and develop a mutual understanding of where new opportunities to collaborate will arise. This is less about whether SFS can support us with established technology in new regions or for new products and more about us being open to in-depth collaboration which would ideally allow us to jointly realize completely new business ideas combining the expertise of SFS and ZF and providing customers with added value. That is exactly why we see SFS as a supplier that ticks all the boxes for entering this next stage of development with ZF.”

SFS would like to thank Jörg Schaupp for giving such an interesting interview and is proud of its successful collaborative partnership with ZF.

Used technologies

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Ralf Lehmann