Quality mission

Chennai: In the recent years, the Chennai-based auto ancillary companies have been bagging quality awards like the Indian beauty queens winning the world's top beauty pageant titles — it's becoming quite frequent.

The latest to join this elite club is the Rs 8-crore-turnover Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, which supplies brake, fuel and power steering assemblies to Ford Motor Company (FMC).

Recognising Cooper's contribution, the 100-year-old US auto giant has bestowed its highest honour, the Gold World Excellence Award, upon the Chennai firm. Cooper is fully controlled by its $3.3-billion US-based parent, one of the world's largest tyre manufacturers, which also makes components like sealing, fuel delivery and vibration control systems.

Agreed, it is the first time that an Indian company has won this award. But what makes the honour more unique is that this is the first time that a Cooper unit anywhere in the world has bagged it. Cooper supplies to FMC's Mexican, Chinese and South African markets and also fulfils the condition of selling to FMC's global markets, not just to its local arms.

The company won the award on parameters like cost, quality and delivery performance. For Cooper, which also doubles up as a design house auto ancillary (the company designed the power steering parts for Mahindra & Mahindra's Scorpio), the journey towards bagging the award was short — but an interesting one.

Grit and determination
Four years back, when managing director K K Tiwari and senior manager (operations) Dinesh Pawar landed at Chennai airport, they didn't realise the challenge that awaited them. Their mandate was to set up the plant and in three months' time deliver brake, fuel and power steering assemblies to Ford India.