Interview with Vice President of Adient’s Americas Seating Division Volker Krebs
If you aren’t moving forward, you’re falling behind. Michigan manufacturers understand this and dedicate their company resources toward continuous improvements — improvements to processes and technologies used, quality standards, customer service and overall brand reputation. When your business lives or dies with every decision, nothing is ever just okay. You can always do better, you can always be better and, if reinventing your brand keeps you competitive, it could be well worth the risk.
“Adient is looking to the future,” says Volker Krebs, vice president of Adient’s Americas Seating division. “Our brand may be new but we are providing our customers with the same high level of personal service they’ve come to expect from us as the world’s largest automotive seating supplier.”
The company now known as Adient was a part of Johnson Controls before spinning off in 2016. They have a new feel and a new vision, but the superior quality, technology and performance of their products are as impressive as ever. The footprint of Adient can be found worldwide, producing 25 million seat systems per year and employing more than 86,000 individuals across 250 global locations. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of products for vehicle interiors – complete seat systems, JIT assembly, trim, foam, metals and specialty seating.
“Adient is committed to focusing on the strategies, investments, products and market segments that make the most sense for our seating business and our customers,” says Krebs. “As the development of autonomous vehicles continues to grow and people spend more time in non-driving activities, the vehicle interior will play an even more important role.”
For Krebs and his team, their focus isn’t only on the needs of today’s customer, but on what tomorrow’s customer might want.
“We have a very open, collaborative culture and our teams embrace new ideas and new trends — that creates countless opportunities for our employees to be at the forefront of innovation,” Krebs says, explaining the purpose behind the company’s recent acquisitions, investments and partnerships throughout Michigan. “Manufacturing is changing and you have to keep up if you are going to lead.”
Last year, Adient announced plans to move its global headquarters to Detroit, purchasing the region’s historic 10-story, 164,000-square-foot Marquette Building located across from Cobo Center. Renovations to the building have begun and will bring more than 500 career opportunities to the Motor City in 2019. The move makes Adient the first Fortune 500 company to establish headquarters in Detroit since 2003.
“I’ve always been passionate about the automotive industry,” says Krebs. “I think it’s only fitting that we locate Adient’s global headquarters in Michigan because it is at the heart of the automotive industry and it sets us up well for the future.”
Additional developments include a nearly 100,000-square-foot expansion to the company’s Plymouth Technical Center to serve as a state-of-the-art engineering, design and advanced technical center workspace for more than 1,200 employees. Adient’s exciting, future-focused environment makes the company an employer of choice for many of Michigan’s young talent.
“We have a clear direction and we’re communicating that vision to our employees and to the Southeast Michigan community,” explains Krebs. “We’ve done a lot in the last year to make the Adient name mean something — it’s an innovative brand on the forefront of manufacturing’s next great era and you’ll be hearing a lot about us in the years to come.”
This article appeared in the December 2017 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Check out the latest issue and read past issues online.