Aeolus Placing a Focus upon Quality
“Of greatest importance for Aeolus is an emphasis on quality, we always lay an emphasis on quality and technology,” states Mr. Feng. He notes that this focus lies at the heart of the company’s success. “The most important thing for management level at Aeolus is quality and improving the mindset of employees. All Aeolus employees know this brand and the factory would not exist without the quality of our product; all that Aeolus is today is due to that.” Naturally, quality products never emerge as the result of luck or coincidence; strategies must be first be implemented. “We have a very strict quality control system, from the beginning when raw materials enter the factory to the finished product,” says Mr. Feng.
“We have a very full and thorough inspection and quality guarantee system to ensure tyres reach customers in the best quality.” And this attention to quality is not restricted to the production process itself, he adds: “From management we have many certifications, such as ISO9001, ECE and DOT, and ISO/TS 16949.” Product quality is also to a large extent dependent upon the tools used in the manufacturing process, and in this area Aeolus can boast owning some of the best available. “In respect to machinery, Aeolus uses world class equipment, such as VMI building machines in our current factory,” Mr. Feng comments. “All calender machinery is produced by Fischer in Germany and mixing machinery comes from Küpper, also in Germany. With this equipment the precision of the product can be guaranteed.” When the company’s new 600,000 square metre facility opens it will be similarly equipped.
At present construction work on the factory is well advanced, and the first production line is scheduled to enter operation at the end of this year. Upon reaching full production the tyremaker will be able to realise its next growth goal. “The next step for us regarding increases will be in radial OTR tyres,” said Mr. Feng. “Currently our production capacity is 20,000 pieces. Our new factory will have a capacity of 150,000 OTR radials. We started making OTR radials in 2005 and now have six important sizes, with many more in development and scheduled for release at the end of this year. After new production line is complete, it will ensure Aeolus will keep its leading position in China’s OTR market – we have now over 50 per cent of the Chinese OEM OTR tyre market.” Radial production is still only a fraction of the company’s total OTR output, which last year amounted to 380,000 pieces. Aeolus also last year manufactured three million TBR tyres per annum (as compared with merely 30,000 pieces in 2000) and 800,000 bias truck tyres. This last product is mainly for the Chinese domestic market and according to Mr. Feng the quantity of bias truck tyres produced by Aeolus is in decline. The second facility’s introduction will bring with it another change in Aeolus’s focus. While it will remain strongly grounded as a manufacturer of commercial vehicle and off-road tyres, this will cease to be the company’s exclusive business. “The new plant will mainly produce radial OTR, but will feature a PCR production line, the first such tyres produced by Aeolus,” discloses Mr. Feng. At the outset the vice general manager foresees the upcoming PCR tyre line-up competing against other Chinese made brands, however the range will later also be aimed higher, with high performance offerings introduced. “Aeolus is entering this market late and faces hard competition,” he muses.
“But we have confidence we can make good quality products. We also believe, with our technical efforts, we can occupy a certain passenger car tyre market share.” Taking stock of the tyremaker’s current position, Mr. Feng mentions that Aeolus is a joint enterprise with a federal government background. “Since last year most shares in the company have been held by the China Chemical Group, making it a daughter company,” he notes. “In 2006 Aeolus, as a tyre maker, ranked number 23 in the world, and last year the company had a turnover of six billion renminbi (US$871.8 million).” Future plans, he adds, are far more ambitious: “Aeolus’s target is to enter the (global) top ten within five to ten years. Aeolus has a long road to reach this target, but the company will do its best to reach it. We hope we can reach this target even sooner than anticipated.”