In an ever-evolving business world, there are many essentials to running a business. But that one ethical standpoint that can scale a business and, if not abided by, can prove to be the drowning factor amidst the cutthroat business competition is Trust.
Populous with this unique prospect of running its glass manufacturing business for architectural and automotive companies is AGC Vidros do Brasil.
Headquartered in Japan and Belgium, the company is on a mission to always stay the first choice along its potential customer pool. It leaves no stone unturned to ace itself in the competitive world of glass manufacturers.
Spearheading this revolution and dedicating all its technological and leadership intelligence is Isidoro Lopes – President and General Manager of Architectural Glass Finance & Business Support South America, and João Siqueira – General Manager Automotive Glass South America.
Let’s slide into the interview and learn how AGC Vidros do Brasil has made it to the top of the global business leaderboard of glass manufacturing companies.
Below are the interview highlights:
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as one of the most reliable companies in the glass manufacturing space.
By providing a wide range of products and services in various fields, the AGC Group has contributed to people’s peace of mind, safety, and comfort worldwide. Moreover, the Group boasts the largest shares of the global markets for many products, including float glass, automotive glass, and fluorinated resin (Fluon ETFE).
In South America, producing flat glass for Civil Construction and Automotive Glass, with commercial operations of the Chemical Division, AGC stands out in the market through a broad and innovative portfolio and a dedicated and exclusive relationship with clients and partners.
The AGC Group aims to continue being the first choice solution provider for customers by building long-term relationships of trust with them through the provision of unique materials and solutions developed using the Group’s wide-ranging material and production technologies.
Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients.
For the Architectural Glass business, we provide a wide variety of products that meet the needs of each region, based on our vision of “inspiring people by using glass to connect them with their surroundings.” The aesthetic, technical and energy properties of AGC glass make its scope of applications practically unlimited: from external glazing to interior decoration and industrial uses. With the richness of the ranges, architects and interior designers alike will find a material that gives shape to their creative inspiration and tames light, while assuring comfort for the building occupants and actively protecting the environment.
For the Automotive Glass Business, we provide high-performance products that help create safe and comfortable cars. At the same time, we will continue contributing to the realization of next-generation mobility by developing high-value-added products.
What are the core values upon which your company is built?
Since its beginnings in the manufacture and sale of flat glass, the AGC Group has broadened its horizons and increased its business lines to encompass chemicals, ceramics, and a host of other products. At the same time, the Group has developed its businesses globally and currently employs approximately 56,200 people in more than 30 countries and regions. Regardless of their business, country, or region, each of our employees shares the four key values of Innovation & Operational Excellence, Diversity, Environment, and Integrity as the basis for everything we do.
Please brief us about the featured person’s (s) journey in the industry and how they have contributed to the company’s success.
First of all we would like to say that our key person of AGC history and success is Toshiya Iwasaki, the founder of the company. At the beginning of the 20th century, as Japan’s modernization continued apace and a plethora of industries were springing up, Toshiya Iwasaki focused his attention on realizing the domestic production of flat glass. On that occasion, many different companies had tried to manufacture flat glass domestically, but all had failed as they were unable to compete with imported products. Nonetheless, intending to create a business that would help advance his society, Iwasaki decided to tackle the challenging problem. “I am prepared to face difficulties. Even if it takes a lifetime, I will realize domestic production.” With this declaration of intent, in 1907 he established Asahi Glass Company, the predecessor of AGC, and began constructing the company that is today “the world’s largest glass company.”
Iwasaki summed up his founding spirit with the motto, “Never take the easy way out, but confront difficulties.” This mindset has been passed down through the generations to the present day and remains the starting point of all of our business activities.
Isidoro Lopes, with 30 years of Flat Glass industry experience, with a career based on operational excellence and building new plants and operations, is supporting the consolidation of the business in South America and continuously improving the processes and customer satisfaction.
João Siqueira, with more than 20 years of experience in the Automotive segment, has been leading the plant since the project phase and managing the start-up of AGC Brazil. He is recognized in developing the organization and creating a unique winning culture.
Vision and Action, applying AGC core values and fundamentals to LEAD THE WAY FOR A BETTER WORLD, are the base of every decision.
We are looking to be the best player in our core businesses, with an integrated value chain approach, quick innovation, the leader in sustainability, and establishing a culture of challenge, courage, and obsession with continuous improvement.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the manufacturing industry and how is your company riding the technology wave.
The industrial sector has bet on technology to achieve increasingly significant results. Today, taking advantage of technological innovations is no longer a luxury for companies and has become an obligation.
Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotization, Autonomous Equipment, Blockchain, Business Intelligence, and Augmented Analytics are some examples to delight us every day in our operations.
The impact has been furious; it is necessary for a mindset change on how to interact with customers, suppliers, collaborators, and even with the equipment and data changed.
It is not enough to invest in information and communication technology to differentiate yourself in the market: it is essential to plan and have qualified professionals to use the new devices strategically. Otherwise, time and money will be wasted.
We have been working with Industry 4.0, for example, connecting the physical world with the digital. In this context, developing our organization is our utmost challenge.
Results are coming, processes with speed and agility, fewer mistakes, and getting the involvement and empowerment of all levels of the organization with a passion for continuous improvement. The new generations are used to having this kind of mindset, and they grew up playing and entertaining with those technologies, getting faster every day and having no patience for processes that take more than a few seconds.
We are taking advantage of this mindset and wave, continually integrating it into our daily activities and decision-making processes.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the manufacturing space?
After 30 years in manufacturing, I will probably advise, first of all, to know what type of product you will produce and if you have mastery over it.
Keep an eye on the market to understand if the bet makes sense – like many sectors, the industry has its ups and downs, and it is worth paying attention to whether the product you are going to produce has good adherence to the public.
Make a good financial plan.
Bet on customized equipment and machines: if the idea is to open an industry, regardless of its size, having machines and equipment that provide automation and speed up production is inevitable.
And lastly, and most importantly, design your factory after knowing what product the market needs.
As an engineer and continuous improvement specialist, I always ask sales and marketing what the market needs so we can design the factory for that need. Never do it the other way around.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
By providing differentiated materials and solutions, AGC strives to help realize a sustainable society and become an excellent company that grows and evolves continuously. We will accelerate growth in the Strategic Businesses area, and at the same time, explore new business areas, propelling materials innovation to help solve social issues, aiming for net-zero carbon in 2050, strengthening human resources, and group-wide governance. About Digital Transformation, we intend to improve competitiveness by accelerating this process, taking a transformation of the business model itself into consideration, leveraging digital technologies to improve the process from product development to sales activities, and using digital technologies to provide value to customers and society and gain competitiveness.
Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.
Awards and recognitions :
- Toyota Best Supplier 2021 Latin America
- Hyundai Supplier of the Year 2019 Brazil
- FCA Beste Supplier of the Year 2017 Brazil
- AGC CEO Awards (Operational Excellence):
- 2015 CEO Awards Gold | From 15.000 to 180.000 tons per year in 24 months
- 2015 CEO Awards Silver | Start-up of the plant in Brazil with 5 models of Automotive Glass projects 2015 CEO Awards Bronze | Excellent production performance of mix products in the Float Glass line
- 2016 CEO Awards Bronze | Project for a truck drives
- 2016 CEO Awards Bronze | Credit and Charge Management
- 2016 CEO Awards Bronze | Excellence in Technical Performance in float glass manufacturing
- 2018 CEO Awards Silver | Turning glass shards into profit
- 2019 CEO Awards Bronze | Micro Coater In Brazil: Sunlux coating on glass
- AGC KTA (Kaizen Theme Activities) Awards
- 2015 KTA Silver | Mirror Line Projetc
- 2017 KTA Gold | Increase in the productive efficiency of the clear 8.0mm with a width of 3600mm.
- 2020 KTA Silver | Get More with Less: Increase Offline Cutting Line Productivity – B&I
- 2021 KTA Special Categorie | Italcarrelli Availability
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