Shaanxi Fast: The Evolution of Industry's "Little Giant"

The world's largest heavy-duty transmission manufacturer, China's first heavy-duty transmission product, China's first to enter the gear products into the international OEM supporting field, China's first mass export of heavy-duty transmission products to the international market, the Chinese market share, China's gear industry operating indicators first...

It is not easy to win so many "firsts" titles in the context of scattered, chaotic and poor auto parts companies in China. What is even more rare is that the company that achieved this achievement was once a big loss in a small mountain valley in Shaanxi Baoji Caijiapo.

After completing the transformation of the enterprise, Shaanxi Fast Automotive Transmission Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Fashite”) took less than ten years to grow from an undisclosed “third-line enterprise” in Shaanxi Province to the auto parts industry. The "little giant."

Fast chairman Li Dakai attributed the company's dramatic changes to continuous reform and adherence to independent innovation. “In the future, Fast is not only a company that occupies a dominant position in the heavy-duty vehicle market, but also has to be involved in other parts of the transmission system to become an international, highly competitive component manufacturing company.”

In Li Dakai, achieving this blueprint is not far away.

High-paying people in difficult times

When the reporter spent a full day visiting one after another at four factories in Xi'an and Baoji, he was surprised that he did not find a worker on the production line was in the hot, dirty, and tired environment of the traditional forging and casting workshop. work.

Standing in front of a row of closed-loop automated production lines, Li Dakai was filled with emotion when he talked about the drastic changes in the company.

Fast is the predecessor of Shaanxi Automobile Gear General Factory (hereinafter referred to as "Shaanxi Tooth Factory") which was established in 1968. At that time, it mainly produced transmissions, transfer units, power take-offs, and various automotive gears and forgings for military off-road vehicles.

In 1985, the Shaanxi Dental Plant was placed under the management of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group (26.67 -1.08%) (hereinafter referred to as "Heavy Gas Group"), producing double countershaft transmissions imported from the United States. During the 15-year period affiliated with China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, it has undergone production adjustments from "military to civilian", and has also experienced prosperous economic overheating in 1993 and 1994, as well as a slump in the auto parts industry from 1995 to 1999. .

Due to the downturn in China's heavy-duty truck industry from 1995 to 1999, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group suffered a loss of several billion yuan. It is equally difficult for Fast to suffer from cold weather. In 1996, Li Dakai led the new factory leadership team to step up and took over this old state-owned enterprise, which was already difficult and almost insolvent.

At the age of 42, Li Dakai faced the “general illness” of all state-owned enterprises in the “Shaanxi Dental Plant” faced with: lack of funds, excessive redundancy, aging equipment, and floating people.

After some investigations, Li Dakai decided resolutely to cancel the administrative level of cadres. All middle-level and above cadres had implemented the appointment system. Since 1997, they have given subsidies to scientific and technical personnel who have made outstanding contributions to retain key technical personnel.

“When I saw a large number of technicians in the group companies, I was very nervous to tell the truth.” Recalling the past, Li Dakai told reporters frankly. Since deciding to pay special allowances to 60% of the factory's technicians and divide the monthly allowance into three grades—200 yuan, 100 yuan, and 50 yuan respectively, Li Dakai found that the salaries of some employees are much higher than themselves.

At that time, there were workers who did not understand that the government’s government subsidies for specialists with outstanding contributions for one month were 100 yuan, and why did the technicians give technicians 200 yuan? “But now workers all say that it was fortunate that they had retained technicians.” Li Dakai Say.

Li Dakai's "high-paying" retention has played a very good effect, and none of the company's technical staff has been removed. Even now, the stability of Fast technicians has been praised by the industry.

“Fortunately, at the time, we took timely measures to retain those technicians. Now there are no counterfeits and plagiarism on the market, and no one has mastered our core technology, so we have today.” Li Dakai told reporters.

Capital and restructuring opportunities

In 2000, Shaanxi Dental Factory returned to the management of Shaanxi Province and became a subsidiary of the Shaanxi Provincial State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Withdrawing from the former CNHTC Group's system, Fast has the planning and pricing rights for product development.

More than a decade ago, it owed bank loans of 500 million yuan or even insolvency, and achieved sales revenue of 3.2 billion yuan in the first half of this year, benefiting from the continuous reform of the company.

Looking back at the reforms gained over the past decade, Li Dakai realized that any reform will be difficult, and as long as you face it positively, there will certainly be a way out. For companies that reform around and avoid, it will certainly not last long.

In September 2001, Shaanxi Dental Plant had a joint venture with the Hunan Torch with all its operating assets. The Hunan Torch accounted for 51% of the shares and Shaanxi Shaanxi Fast Gear Co., Ltd. was established.

That year, Fast's joint venture with the Hunan Torch was not the last resort for the company when it was desperate. In fact, Fast had achieved profitability in 2000. In 2001, it ranked among the top in comprehensive efficiency indicators in Shaanxi Province. The company is already in a rising stage of development.

Li Dakai found that the Chinese heavy-duty vehicle market will usher in a wave of very good upswings, and as an upstream company, we must not miss the opportunity. However, due to the limited production capacity of the company at that time, it was necessary to expand the scale and upgrade the equipment in order to achieve faster development. "Only looking for new investors."

It happened that the torch was also looking for investment projects. Since this privately-controlled listed company has its own experience in transforming state-owned enterprises, the two sides hit it off.

The joint venture with the Hunan Torch has brought capital and opportunities for corporate restructuring to Fast.

The three major reform initiatives were launched one after another. First, a full-member contract system was implemented, and nearly 3,000 employees gave up their status as state-owned workers. Second, a modern enterprise system was established. The original 57 middle-level units were broken up and divided into seven centers and one center. Third, the original allocation of seniority has been completely changed. The front-line workers of the workshop have implemented the principle of “more work and more work”, and department managers have implemented the principle of “different and different treatment of different responsibilities”. The technicians are assigned according to the principle of contribution.

The results of reforms are immediate, and under the operating mode of market-oriented enterprises, employees feel most genuinely. “In the second year of reform, the wages of employees have doubled. By 2004, the annual wages of employees reached 40,000 yuan.” The staff of the Propaganda Department of the Party Committee of the company told reporters.

Even they are surprised

Li Dakai, who is technically advanced, has a near-paranoid attachment to independent innovation.

"In the 90s of the last century, we did not give up when we were most difficult, and we did not give up when we got a joint venture with the Hunan Torch and the market improved. When we did a joint venture with Eaton in 2003 and 2004, we did not give up. Now we have a market share of 80. At %, we still dare not give up independent innovation."

In the 1990s, with the rapid development of China's heavy-duty auto industry, products imported from abroad have obviously not adapted to market demand. There are two ways before Fast: First, it is once again facing foreign countries and continues to be introduced; the second is to take the road of innovation and develop independently.

Li Dakai chose the latter without hesitation.

In the showroom on the western suburb of Xi’an plant, a transmission that is painted in bold colors is placed. This is a dual countershaft transmission original product introduced from the United States in the 1980s. Mr. Cui Weike, party secretary of Fast, told reporters that if it was not digested, absorbed and reinvented on the basis of introduction, enterprises can only maintain the same level of technology that was used abroad.

Fast's transmission has obvious advantages in heavy-duty heavy-duty vehicles. “There are auto companies telling us that trucks loaded with 20-ton trucks with Fast transmissions and loaded with 120 tons of cargo can actually be driven. Even we ourselves are surprised.” Choi Weike revealed to reporters.

As of now, Fast's transmission has a market share of more than 80% in China's heavy-duty automotive market with more than 8 tons, and it has been used by more than 1,000 automakers such as FAW, Dongfeng, CNHTC, Sichuan Gas, Shaanxi Auto, Beiqi Foton, etc. Selected as an accessory product.

Li Dakai has a unique view on the path of independent innovation by companies. "In addition to digestion and absorption, it is more important to go out of the road of innovative development. Without this path, companies will not succeed. There is not one foreigner who has joint venture or cooperation with us. It is not a fancy to the Chinese market. Many auto companies rely entirely on foreign countries. Technology has caused the passiveness of its own business."


Look at the entire drive system

Today, Li Dakai has proposed the "five-strong" standard, namely "strong technology research and development, strong equipment manufacturing, strong sales services, strong financial and financial management, and strong basic management." The criterion for measuring whether a company meets the target is whether the product can enter the European, US and Japanese markets, compete with multinational companies on the same platform, and have a place.

Entering the international market, Fast has taken the lead in the industry. In 1987, Fast entered the international market. Ten years later, it entered the international OEM supporting market with higher product quality requirements.

Li Dakai specifically emphasized the doorway. “If a company says that it exports tens of millions of US dollars to foreign countries, it needs to distinguish whether it is an OEM matching market or an international after-sales service market. The requirements for product quality in the international after-sales service market are similar to domestic demand, and the quantity is no longer significant. OEM matching market is different, it is to enter the host market, requiring high product technology, and even some higher than international standards."

Although the demand for the U.S. market has dropped sharply since 2007, it has already resolutely shifted its main attack direction to domestic Fast, and has achieved good results in the first half of this year.

In the “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” for the enterprise to be completed, the National Enterprise R&D Center invested by 600 million yuan, Shaanxi Fast Automotive Transmission Engineering Research Institute is gradually completed.

In terms of products, in addition to firmly occupying the heavy-duty transmission market, Fast is advancing into market support areas such as buses, minibuses, low-speed trucks, construction vehicles, and specialty vehicles. In addition, the development of electronically controlled automatic transmission (AMT) will also be accelerated. In five years and ten years, truck drivers have become more and more demanding in terms of reducing labor intensity. The automation of commercial vehicles is a general trend. This is Li Dakai's judgment.

“We have no reason to be complacent about selling tens of thousands of devices to Eastern Europe. The road ahead will be longer and further. We will then make vigorous efforts to sell products in large quantities to Europe and the United States before we can catch up with the advanced world. The level is among the best in the world," said Li Dakai.

For long-term goals, Fast aims to focus on the various components of the entire drivetrain. “Not only heavy-duty trucks, medium-light trucks, mini-trucks, and cars have to be covered, not just transmissions, but also other transmission systems. As long as the market needs it, it will be done in accordance with the development plans of Fast.” Li Dakai looked ahead. .

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