DSM Engineering Plastics

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Vision and partnership key to advancing automotive composites

  • Jud Gibson · Vice President, Commercial Americas for DSM Engineering Plastics

  • 1 October 2018

During the recent Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Composites Conference and Exposition (SPE ACCE), I had the privilege of sharing DSM’s insights regarding the future of automotive composites as a speaker during one of the panel discussions.  

It can be an interesting experience discussing your company’s vision of the future as you are sitting next to some of your direct competitors, but I believe we all took away some great insights from the event and the discussion. After the event, I had the following key takeaways:

A clear vision is essential

We talked a lot about topics that are familiar to those of us that work in the automotive industry (e.g., future mobility, electrification, etc.). However, we intentionally went beyond the typical automotive discussion to explain how DSM’s “Purpose Led, Performance Driven” strategy is based on global megatrends that transcend any one industry.  

When we connected our ongoing investment in next-generation thermoplastic material solutions to our new brand pillar of sustainable living, we demonstrated DSM’s commitment to industry leadership beyond the role of a traditional material supplier.    

Sustainability is more than a buzzword for our customers

As I listened to another panel discussion during the event, it became clear that key U.S. customers such as Ford Motor Company, General Motors and John Deere share our long-term thinking regarding the priority of sustainability despite recent developments in Washington. For example, a speaker from Ford shared her thoughts regarding the Paris climate agreement.

"Our group had a giant party the day the Paris climate agreement was signed, and I felt like that was a giant step forward," said Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader, materials sustainability, Ford Motor Company. "When [the United States] pulled out of the Paris agreement, I could barely get out of bed to go to work."

Her sincere thoughts were shared by the panelists and much of the audience.

The pace of change is too fast for a “go-it-alone” approach

Our customers in automotive, electronics and other industries are facing more pressure than ever before to innovate and avoid the risk of being left behind. GM shared its particularly ambitious “zero, zero, zero vision,” meaning zero crashes, zero emissions and zero fatalities.

These challenges are too great for us to overcome alone. The only way that we're all going to be successful is to continue to develop partnerships and alliances to fully understand the value chain so that we can bring award-winning solutions at a competitive cost advantage to our customers.

Overall, the event was a valuable experience for myself and our team. Attending an event focused on a very specific topic such as automotive composites and taking away a better appreciation of how well aligned our corporate strategy is with our customers was a pleasant surprise.

To learn more about the event and discussion, I encourage you to read the recent story in Plastics News.

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