Deeply rooted in the industry with an “Active research and development, skillful operations” philosophy
Thanks to the initial detailed plans of Founder Zhong Shuanglin, Taigene Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. has been deeply rooted in the industry with an “Active research and development, skilled operations” philosophy. Founded 50 years ago, the company has successfully established 13 affiliated enterprises throughout the world in order to control the industry’s upstream, midstream, and downstream raw material sources and meet customer demands with high-quality products at the most reasonable price. How has Zhong Shuanglin managed to consistently implement his philosophy? Below are excerpts from an exclusive interview with the Taigene founder：
- Q：What are the major products the Taigene currently offers?
- A：As of now, our major products consist of electrical parts for automobiles; electrical parts for locomotives; air-conditioning systems for automobiles and locomotives; electric motorcycle and electric bicycle motors, controllers, and power systems; small size precision motors; electronic products; diecastings; cold forged parts; stampings, model, smelting tools; etc. Meanwhile, one of our affiliated enterprises, Taigene Metal, mainly produces permanent magnets casted with aluminum nickel and cobalt, permanent magnets sintered with iron oxide, rare earth magnets, soft magnets (with all kinds of magnetic cores and electronic components), magnet powder, etc. In the future, our main objective will be to more completely master upstream, midstream, and downstream material sources and offer a more competitive product line.
- Q：Why are you so enamored with research and development projects? How many substantial benefits have actually been generated from R&D?
- A：In 1952, I joined Tatung Company, where many colleagues and I researched and developed an electric fan. In April 1953, we launched the first domestic electric fan, which, at the time, was worth approximately 50 g of gold; at first, we could only produce eight electric fans a day, and people were practically lining up to buy one. During my 13 years with Tatung Company, we successfully researched and developed such products as electric rice cookers, electricity meters, large transformers, motors, etc.; we even went to Toshiba of Japan once in order to research and develop new styles of transformers and electricity meters. Such practical research and development experience in the factory was greatly beneficial after founding Taigene. Although Taigene’s have differed from the products I worked with at Tatung Company, my time there was very beneficial regarding production cost control and profit making. Furthermore, continuous research, development, and improvement has allowed the company’s operations to never decline over these many years. Even under the condition that big environment is bad, since we have always planned properly years ahead of time, we can continue to grow steadily; we have had such good fortune.
- Q：How do you manage both domestic and foreign enterprises?
- A：Ten years ago, we had just started producing Electric Power Steering (EPS); to ensure quality, I moved to Longtan Aspire Park near the factory and lived there for two years. We have been dedicated to continuous research and development and technology improvement ever since starting the business, and even though Taigene was founded 50 years ago and has 13 affiliated enterprises worldwide, I have not taken a break. I often work more than ten hours a day; the factory is my home, so to speak. The skillful and practical business operations and bearing the responsibility for my employees provide the employees with an unparalleled centripetal force to the company, with which they put their hearts into pursuing company growth, thus enabling the company to grow continuously.
- Q：How have you avoided economic depression and managed to maintain growth every year?
- A：Since I had been interested in materials research and development even while at university, I carefully consider the sources of all kinds of materials in order to control product cost. I once traveled to Belgium alone in order to achieve a long-term and stable supply of cobalt. Furthermore, 60% of NdFeB materials come from mainland China; therefore, we established a factory there for early deployment, which not only allows us to master the source of goods, but also to control the quality more precisely. Most importantly, it can reduce production costs because many important manufacturing processes can be independently prepared in the factory, thus improving costs related to lean production; this is the only way to improve competitiveness.
Recently, after hundreds of millions of investment into the new factory, 12 production lines are now manufacturing electric power steering, with 4.1 million EPS and REPS used for cars currently being produced every year. The annual production of the Taiwan and Fuzhou, China factories are expected to reach 9.6 million in 2017. The factory in Fuzhou in mainland China has also started putting electric power steering into production to supply the OEM market there.
The constant development of new products and research and development towards energy saving are among the key practices of Taigene in our pursuit of annual growth. The company is also actively researching and developing hydrogen fuel cell applications.
- Q：You are very interested in sports; how do you stay in such good shape?
- A：Born in 1928, I have loved sports since I was a child. I was a black belt in judo when I was a second-year junior high student, and I practiced it three hours every day. After starting high school at Jianguo, I began playing rugby and founded the famous All Blacks. Combined with my first two years at National Taiwan University, I had played rugby at that point for five years and had never lost a match. I also was once the runner-up in the breaststroke group of the second provincial swimming contest. All of these sports required long-term practice, which has cultivated in me a stronger willpower than found in most others. Regarding the bottlenecks I encountered while trying to start my own business, I overcame each one with such willpower; that has been the best added value outside the actual sports. Now, as I grow older, I may only get the chance to play golf twice a week at most, now purely for enjoyment and exercise.