CANTON, OHIO — NGK reiterated with its suppliers its focus on four key areas — relationships, growth, value and innovation — at its annual Supplier Conference in late May.
Hosted at the Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio, NGK welcomed its supplier partners May 22-23 to the event aimed at networking, relationship building and sharing what is to come within NGK going forward. NGK executives shared information with their supplier partners on how they can improve their business going forward, and what to expect from NGK in the future.
NGK President Yoshitaka Narita spoke to attendees on the company’s history and values, and what has brought it successfully through to 2018 and beyond, while Larry Carpenter, Safety & Environmental Manager, discussed the importance of a safety program and ensuring all employees understand their role in creating and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.
Enhancing efficiencies was a main focus of the event, with Gary Casto, Materials Manager, encouraging all to take a deep dive into their business models to see where processes can be improved and cost reduction strategies can be implemented.
NGK’s Quality Circle teams participated in a competition to see which supplier — in partnership with NGK — was able to identify and implement a significant efficiency improvement in their business. HK Metalcraft discussed changes made to their packaging department; while Sanko Electrica Mexico discussed the changes made to their quality control inspection process.
NGK also announced its suppliers of the year award winners:
- Akers Packaging Solutions
- Ainak Inc.
- Nissei Electric Company
- Kurabe America Corp.
- Hinchcliff Lumber Company
- Neff Packaging
- Veritiv Corporation
An overall market update picture was presented by Kent Howard, Senior Vice President of the OEM Division. Howard touched on developments in the more than $17 billion industry, new trends including significant growth in the SUV and CUV market and NGK-OEM customer relationship news and updates. Brian Norko, Vice President Aftermarket, delved into the aftermarket specifically, reviewing light vehicle sales trends and the changing market.
NGK plans to have three major product launches this summer, with a new spark plug coming at the end of May and a new vehicle electronics line and sensor line in June.
Innovation remains a main company focus, and Rich Sullivan, Senior Vice President of NTK Technologies, discussed the joint NGK-NTK Innovation Center in Santa Clara, Calif., and how it encourages both idea and risk sharing among business partners. The center is slated for a soft opening in January 2019, with the official opening in April.
NGK’s philanthropy efforts benefit the Ignite a Better World Foundation, and Dr. Stefan Maxwell, a neonatologist, presented on how the donations from NGK and the Supplier Conference attendees — totaling more than $150,000 since 2012 — are put to use at the Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston, WV.