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Chassis Brakes International

Chassis Brakes International Reacts to the Changing Australian Market

Abigail Phillips

Exploring new opportunities in the automotive market will see CBI achieve continued success
Chassis Brakes International Reacts to the Changing Australian Market

Chassis Brakes International has a long and varied history, dating back 80 years. The Australian / ASEAN region of the company began trading as PBR in 1927. PBR started life  as a brake  service parts provider, selling service kits to customers, expanding within the market with innovative design solutions, to become a global brake manufacturer

Chassis Brakes International was formed in 2012 when the foundation braking group was carved out of Bosch’s automotive portfolio and sold to KPS Capital Partners, forming the worlds 3rd largest brake company. Just 12 months down the line is already gaining recognition through customer awards as a stand-alone global manufacturer.

Chassis Brakes International is headquartered in Europe, with its management team residing in Paris. It is comprised of 22 sites globally with 14 manufacturing sites across 5 continents including  – Oceana, Asia, Europe, S America and Africa. The Company also has a supporting office in Japan, which supports the global business at the technical and commercial  interface off the Japanese OEMs.

The ASEAN headquarters in Australia has retained a great deal of it’s capabilities from the PBR era. Rather than scale that back, the decision has been made to maintain these capabilities in order to support the unique Australian market. “Australia is a relatively small market, and one that is in the process of shrinking in many ways,” says Graham Scull, Regional President ASEAN region. “As a result, there is a need for the Australian arm of the business to look outside of the traditional brake products. We are in the process of locating opportunities outside of what is considered normal.” By the rest of CBI.

With full support from the European head office, Scull and his team are actively pursuing other opportunities outside the traditional brake business. “We are looking for range extension opportunities,  offering different automotive products for our existing customer base. We are also pushing our existing components into new markets, for example recreational and military vehicle manufacturers,” says Scull. “ Chassis Brakes International in Australia are experts in both aluminium and cast iron castings and have the ability to take a raw casting all the way from development to assembly, here on site.” These capabilities are being full leveraged to offer a competitive product for it’s many customers.

The Company is able to utilize it’s engineering services with the aim of obtaining a broader understanding of industry trends and needs. This level of customer interaction could open new opportunities for the Company within the sector.

Research & Development

The Company operates an engineering center from Australia and as such has a very broad design and manufacture capability. From an engineering facilities point of view CBI (Australia) has the capacity to take on design, testing and product evaluation using robust processes that fall in line with automotive industry standards. Chassis Brakes International offers these capabilities to its customers providing them with assistance when it comes to developing reliable and high quality products.

Currently operating three manufacturing plants in Australia, the Company is keen to pursue new opportunities in the region from a manufacturing view point, with the aim of diversifying its product and service offering.

People Management

Chassis Brakes International acknowledges that attracting and more importantly, retaining good employees can be a challenge at times. Scull concedes that the uncertain manufacturing market in Australia has led to fewer people joining the industry, however to overcome this challenge senior management have been promoting the plans and long term strategy of the business to give future employees greater confidence in the Company.

“People who have the confidence in themselves to make those plans a reality are joining us. We are finding that our new strategy is capturing people’s imaginations,” says Scull.

Currently the Company employs approximately 450 people and as part of its retention strategy it offers annual reviews with a focused development plan targeting an individuals career plan progression. It has also recently launched two new global programs; one a continuous improvement program, including training and the second a global leadership training program to strengthen leadership within the Company.

Future Development

Despite a slowing industry, Chassis Brakes International has managed to maintains a sustainable business case and is looking towards new horizons and opportunities. From a regional point of view it is focusing on increasing the traditional braking product business with a number of potential customers in the region with both local and oversea’s based customers. The Thailand plant, investing a lot of time and money in building contracts and relationships in the area. The Company is already working with both Proton and Ford.

Within Australia it will continue to promote its key differentiator, which is the capability to take raw material through to finished product. “We are also focusing on value stream management rather than functional management with a high emphasis on cross-functional development of the product,” explains Scull.. With awards under its belt such as the 2012 Supplier of the Year with Toyota Australia, a dedication to safety, quality and a thorough understanding of the Australian market, Chassis Brakes International will remain a major player in the industry for many years to come. 

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