The seats in your car are normally made by an outsourced manufacturing partner, which usually also provides R&D and engineering input. New York-listed Adient plc is one such company that provides engineering and manufacturing services for passenger and commercial vehicles. Adient was spun off from the automotive division of Johnson Controls. In 2017, Adient was reportedly the world’s largest automotive seat manufacturer, supplying seat components for about 25 million vehicles. The company has presence in 32 countries, including Malaysia. Recently, its local subsidiary, Adient Automotive Seating Sdn Bhd, had invested in a new RM10 million plant with state-of-the-art foam manufacturing technology and had started exporting headrests to Thailand and Indonesia. With this latest foam plant in Alor Gajah, Melaka, the company hopes to make Malaysia a hub for automotive seating foam.
“Since 1983 we have been consistently investing to improve and expand the capability and capacity of our manufacturing operations in Malaysia and with our new foam plant in Alor Gajah, we are elevating to become an automotive export hub for the Southeast Asia region. Through this initiative, we will drive parts localisation, develop local suppliers, and create more job opportunities and export revenues for Malaysians and Malaysia. Leveraging on Adient’s global manufacturing best practices we provide the joy of driving with the safest, most comfortable and most entertaining mobility solutions that truly care for people and respect our planet,” said Adient Managing Director, AJ Dabydin.
The new Alor Gajah plant also incorporates Adient’s environmental responsibility with the inclusion of a rainwater harvesting system to reduce the dependency on town water, and installation of solar panels to produce electricity that powers various equipment. The factory is also equipped with five-star power rated and low carbon emission equipment and LED lighting throughout. The company also manages risk through environmental management systems and appropriate certification such as ISO14001.
Automation and smart technology was another important consideration in Adient’s manufacturing strategy. With the implementation of Hydra Manufacturing System, a first in Malaysia, the plant is able to collect vast amount of production data from various equipment in real time onsite and remotely, and use visual analytics to improve right first time, reduce product defects and rework, and quickly identify root causes of potential issues from heat maps.
Dabydin also mentioned that even though a technology-centered approach was adopted, people were at the centre of designing the automation. “There was a need to re-skill and up-skill the operators for effective man-machine interaction and then keeping them safe through a plant layout that allows for one-meter physical distance and carefully planned logistic route,” he explained.
In recognition of its remarkable contribution to the nation’s economy in using innovative and sustainable foam technology and best practice manufacturing, the Adient Alor Gajah plant recently emerged the winner in the Automotive Services category at Singapore Business Review’s Malaysia International Business Awards 2021.
“We thank the Ministry of International Trade and Investment (MITI), Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), the various local authorities, our customers, business partners and our Adient team for all their support, and we are looking forward to hosting an official opening ceremony of the new plant when the situation permits,” concluded AJ Dabydin.
Adient Automotive Seating Sdn Bhd currently has 3 manufacturing plants, 1 engineering, prototype and testing lab and a sequencing centre with about 500 employees in the country which are IATF 16949:2016, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 45001:2018 certified.