Based on its recent analysis of the European automotive aftermarket, Frost & Sullivan is recognizing ZF Friedrichshafen AG with the 2018 European Company of the Year Award for establishing itself as a premium aftermarket parts supplier in a segment that is both highly competitive and price-sensitive. With its mix of organic and inorganic growth strategies as well as a clear aftermarket vision, ZF leverages distributor partnerships to add new capabilities to its existing automotive aftermarket portfolio.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents a Company of the Year Award to the organization that demonstrates excellence in terms of growth strategy and implementation in its field. The award recognizes a high degree of innovation with products and technologies and the resulting leadership, in terms of customer value and market penetration.
ZF Aftermarket supplies solutions and component expertise under brands such as Lemförder, Sachs, TRW, Boge and Openmatics. According to Frost & Sullivan, the company has significantly established itself in niche parts markets, such as steering and suspension, brakes and occupant safety systems.
“ZF is committed to incorporating long-range macro-level trends into its innovation strategy. For instance, the company has an excellent understanding of the level of impact that electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars will have on the general aftermarket and is responding by engaging in eMobility and eDrivetrain platforms,” said Benson Augustine, senior research analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “ZF digitalizes its products to enable Intelligent Mechanical Systems. These systems allow vehicles to see, think and act. Autonomous driving becomes a reality through networking environmental sensors, such as camera and radar (see), electronic control units (think) and intelligent mechatronics in driveline, chassis and steering (act).”
In the world of electromobility, ZF not only stands for efficient power consumption in electric vehicles, but also for intelligent power generation through renewable energy sources, such as wind parks. At the same time, the company transfers its expertise to all other areas of application, including connectivity and cloud-based solutions, which will soon be crucial to all aspects of our lives.
ZF’s exposure to different industries, such as wind energy, rail, and construction, allows it to share and leverage technologies for downstream businesses as well as implement best practices across verticals. The company’s growth in the aftermarket over the past 10 years has been the highest among the top suppliers in Europe, Frost & Sullivan noted. ZF is the only top supplier in the region with a noteworthy aftermarket presence in both commercial and passenger vehicle applications, the firm adds.
ZF is working on digital solutions for mobility providers and new automotive customers. Thanks to its worldwide footprint, the company is able to develop and produce locally for local customers in all world regions. Telematics-based prognostics and predictive maintenance also are mega trends in the aftermarket, and ZF has addressed these trends by offering an in-house telematics platform with cloud-based capabilities through its OPENMATICS brand. ZF Aftermarket leverages these value-added customer benefits from the ZF Group, and properly aligns its associated distributor partners in the aftermarket value chain to adapt to changing market trends.
“ZF’s century-old presence in the automotive landscape provides it with control over a wide network of established business-to-business (B2B) accounts as well as channel expertise on a global scale,” noted Augustine. “And ZF has positioned itself for further growth through a series of valuable acquisitions and investments.”