Product innovation and globalization are key to surviving the economic downturn, Woodbridge Group senior vice-president of marketing and global sales, Martin Mazza, told attendees during the lunch keynote address at the APMA-AUTO21 conference. Mazza stepped in at the last minute for the Honourable Michael Wilson, Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America, who was held up in Washington dealing with the current automotive crisis.
His presentation, global success through a product-led focus, was inline with the APMA-AUTO21 conference theme, Creating Success Through a Product-Led Future.
Technology drives success at the Woodbridge Group. "We try to put innovation in all aspects of our business," said Mazza. "At Woodbridge, innovation is defined as an invention that can be used to make a dollar. No income, no innovation."
A product-led focus must be aligned with industry trends. Suppliers need to be relentless with product innovation, he said. Products must have OEM relevance. Ask yourself if it delivers what customers want, and whether you can deliver this globally.
Global development capability is also one of the keys to the company's success, he added. Geographic diversification is important. "Without our international income, the Woodbridge Group could not have survived the North American auto recession."
He gave the example of the company's most recent global expansion in India, where it manufactures seat cushions. The company chose India because of the country's strong economic growth and demographics (a huge percentage of the population is under 36 years old). In addition, domestic car sales are forecast to double in the next 10 years.
These are the keys to growth, he said.
"If you're not growing, you're dying."
For more information, visit AUTO21 at www.auto21.ca or the APMA at www.apma.ca.