During my recent visit to Brazil as the guest of Sindipeças and ApexBrasil, I had the opportunity to visit Tecfil, an automotive filter factory located in the city of Guarulhos, in São Paul. I visited on 3 April 2014, and what an illuminating visit it was!
Illuminating because it was is if I was having a déjà vu experience, having visited the G.U.D. Holdings manufacturing facilities in Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa on 27 April 2014.I am not an expert on filter production, but it is clear that there is an international template that is followed around the world, because the similarities between G.U.D. and Tecfil are uncanny. Maybe this is not surprising, because both manufacturing facilities manufacture to OE specifications, and both facilities boast world class laboratories and extensive testing equipment for both production and product development. And not surprisingly, both companies produce for OEMs and their own aftermarket brands, plus other well-known international brands, whilst also having extensive export programmes. For more on the G.U.D. article, please see pages 80 and 81 of the April 2014 issue of aBr.
Another uncanny comparison is that both companies have been manufacturing and distributing original equipment and aftermarket automotive filters for over 60 years. G.U.D. began their journey in South Africa in 1946, and Tecfil began operations in Brazil in 1953. And the catalyst for the growth of both companies was the various government incentive programmes introduced to stimulate local production of motor vehicles. Of course, the Brazilian automotive industry is now much bigger than its South African equivalent, with Brazil now occupying the seventh spot on the global ranking of world automotive production. But Tecfil does not rely purely on this enormous OEM footprint. In actual fact, 65% of the company's turnover comes from aftermarket sales, with the balance coming from export, private brands and original equipment.
And the similarities continue, with both companies investing heavily in aftermarket education and technical training. Tecfil has a highly qualified technical team that travels throughout Brazil taking information, promotional material and technical knowledge to the aftermarket. The team promotes training for Tecfil's customers' salesmen and technicians, whilst Mobile Lab Units travel the country performing tests on products, basically being an extension of the factory laboratories. Accurate diagnostics and intensive testing make these mobile labs a unique facility in the Brazilian filter market. In addition, the company has a training centre at its headquarters.
This centre, known as TecStop, offers free of charge courses of up to six hours on the fitment of filters on all the vehicle models in Brazil. Customer service is also a priority for Tecfil, with a toll free line for its customers.
As with G.U.D., Tecfil is the market leader in Brazil, and to keep this market leadership it has invested in a new plant, a high-level industrial park, solely for the production of the air line (metal free). Logistics expertise is also a strong feature of Tecfil, as efficient distribution across the vast expanse of Brazil requires expertise and efficiency.
Naturally, top quality is a non-negotiable at Tecfil, and to achieve the highest level of quality, Tecfil has invested considerably in new equipment for production, automated lines, fault detection equipment, and new production lines such as filter elements for air conditioning. Tecfil has all the quality certifications required by manufacturers, and it has teams of engineers who are in direct contact with the product development departments of the OEMs.