Friedrichshafen. This year’s winners of the ZF Supplier Awards come from Europe, Asia and North America. Seven companies were honored for their outstanding services in four categories. The awards were handed out during this year's ZF Global Supplier Summit which was dedicated to digitalization.
“We are right in the middle of a major transformation in mobility and digital products and services, more than anything else, are accelerating this change,” emphasizes ZF Board member Wilhelm Rehm, who, in this function, is also responsible for the technology company’s materials management. “To realize our vision of a future mobility with zero accidents and zero emissions, we need suppliers by our side as development and innovation partners, more than ever.” In addition to outstanding quality, ZF expects characteristics like internationality, flexibility and reliability from its suppliers.
The ZF Supplier Awards were handed out during the ZF Global Supplier Summit. During this event, ZF top management gives 115 strategic suppliers from around the world a look not only at the corporate strategy and new technologies and solutions, but also the new purchasing and logistics requirements that will emerge from them. And this is where digitalization was placed front and center. Such technologies and solutions range from automated drones for intra-plant transport and the SupplyOn supplier portal to solutions for smart logistics. The company itself has been testing and enhancing such solutions in the “ZF Model Factory” since the middle of last year. Also of note: ZF is the first company in Germany to receive government approval to fly drones for logistics purposes over the plant premises.
Excelfore wins award in the “Digitalization” category
This is the second year that ZF presents a supplier award for the “Digitalization” category. And this year it went to a company in Silicon Valley. The recipient, Excelfore, combines the expertise of 75 software engineers with the spirit of a start-up company. The middleware solutions that it develops will make the next generation of networked cars possible. ZF is working with Excelfore on the cloud platform eSync, which provides a standardized solution for over-the-air-software updates in vehicles and is used in error diagnosis. The expertise of Excelfore has helped ZF reinforce its market position also in the area of occupant safety systems.
Oechsler wins the award in the “Innovation” category
The plastics specialist Oechsler, which supplies ZF worldwide with actuators for electronic parking brakes, has invested significantly in 3D printing technology in the last few years, making a name for itself internationally even outside the automotive industry. Based in the Franconian city of Ansbach, Oechsler’s groundbreaking approaches have supported ZF in its efforts to shorten the development times of complex transmissions and housings.
Iron Force, Voit and Shell honored in the “Production Material” category
Three suppliers tied as winners in the “Production Materials” category. Iron Force Industrial not only has the expertise to cover ZF’s demand for steel and specific tubes, the Asian company is impressive due to its flexibility and the rapidness with which it responds to requests. Based in the city of St. Ingbert, Voit Automotive GmbH specializes in aluminum die casting and other forming technologies; it supplies ZF with transmission components. Investing in its own company plant in Poland and as an industrial leader of the joint venture Fonderie Lorraine in France founded in 2017, Voit has strengthened ZF’s global production footprint. Lastly, Shell Deutschland Schmierstoff GmbH, the third winner in this category, is ZF’s main supplier of transmission oil. ZF’s long-term partnership with Shell Deutschland stood out this year particularly due to its competitive prices, cooperation with logistics and close collaboration in developing oil for the fourth 8HP automatic transmission generation.
Paul Horn and JAS Worldwide are the winners in “Non-Production Material” category
The awards for the “Non-Production Material” went to companies based in Tübingen and Atlanta. Paul Horn GmbH has been a reliable partner for cutting tools and tool retrofitting. When optimizing life cycles, remanufacturing tools and developing new concepts, the company has always proven its innovativeness and reliability. JAS Worldwide was the ZF Group’s largest sea freight forwarder in 2018 and also an important logistics service provider for air freight. From the Jury's perspective, the company has been outstanding in its proactive customer service approach while also providing excellent key account management. Lastly, when it comes to IT, JAS is setting standards industry-wide, especially in terms of supply chain transparency.