Moldmaker Profile: Synergetic/M2M engineers success in India
The benefits of India's highly educated and skilled workforce aren't exclusive to automotive parts manufacturers. Wallaceburg, Ont.-based moldmaker Synergetic/M2M Group, a global company that counts m...
The benefits of India’s highly educated and skilled workforce aren’t exclusive to automotive parts manufacturers. Wallaceburg, Ont.-based moldmaker Synergetic/M2M Group, a global company that counts major automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 suppliers as its clients, has developed a strong engineering presence in India.
Synergetic/M2M has a significant presence in several Asian countries, outsourcing to facilities with lower overhead costs.
“We have had to look at our process in the mirror and there are a lot of components we call 2D that are repetitive on a mold design – ejector boxes, lifters, location rings, et cetera,” noted operations manager Adrian Dixon. “We have broken those generic components off and aggressively gone off to produce those in overseas markets.
“If we come up with the idea and the concept, we still have to be the low-cost supplier, and in essence that means we have to tap into the Indian and Chinese markets to help supply us with 2D items,” he continued.
In India, however, Synergetic/M2M has also harnessed the capabilities of the local workforce. In addition to collaborating with Indian joint venture partners, the company has established a design and engineering facility in Chennai.
With a total of 70 employees, the Chennai facility offers services such as product design, mold design, FEA testing, fixture design and robotics simulation. The mold design team, which consists of 17 people, work directly with the team in Wallaceburg.
“They are interfaced with our design system here,” explained Dixon. “It is also interlinked with on-site program managers who can link up with certain mold shops that we have relationships with.”
The education level and smaller communication barrier have assisted in the transition. “There’s been bumps along the way, but by and large it’s been very successful,” said executive owner Richard Myers.
“There is an excellent education system, they speak English, and the time frame to interact [with the facility] is a little wider,” he continued. “The level of knowledge and the fact that English is the main language in a lot of cases allows us to be better designers and better project managers.”
Synergetic M2M’s mold designers are brought on board after receiving six months of training in Wallaceburg. This allows the company to standardize training and acclimatize the designers to the company’s business model and practices.
“The difference here is the flexibility of direction,” noted vice president of business development Mark Nowakowski, who has been stationed in Chennai for the last four months. “That’s a difference you could call an advantage, but it is also what causes a lot of foreigners a lot of frustration when doing business here. As North Americans, we are bound by rules and obligations.”
Synergetic/M2M has big plans for its Indian engineering facility: the company plans on adding more mold designers to its staff, and Nowakowski hopes to grow sales to $3 million in the short term, up from just under $1 million in 2006.
In addition, “we tapped into the Indian market for design, but we will also be looking at more and more opportunities in India based on plastic or casting – take the synergies that we have created over the year, and put those to work for us in India,” said Myers. “There is overcapacity in North America, so to think that we are going to be the new shop in North America to take on a big job…that’s not going to happen, but it will happen in India. It’s evolution.”