Issue Issue 2 2008
Narva has the light idea
Narva Speziallampen GmbH has over 50 years of experience in the manufacturing of incandescent lamps, including 30 years in halogen technology.
The company offers a wide range of motor vehicle filament lamps, which meet both the European ECE R37 and American SAE/DOT standards. The organisation’s product range also includes halogen miniature lamps, halogen special lamps, conventional special lamps and lamps for special vehicles.
Located in the centre of Germany, Narva is supported by worldwide sales offices. Gerhard Liebscher, managing director for the business comments: “Narva Speziallampen GmbH is part of the international Philips group. As a result, we are able to use Philips’ whole sales force, which allows us to work on a global basis. In addition, being part of this larger organisation ensures that we have enough money for investments, which means we can continually stay at the forefront of the industry with regards to product development. The Philips brand name is synonymous throughout the world – this is another major advantage.”
With access to Philips’ worldwide sales force, the company exports approximately 75 per cent of its total turnover to around 70 different countries. Furthermore, the business can also be close to its customers through this worldwide presence. As a result, the company continually meets its clients’ requirements.
To be able to compete on a global basis, the organisation has to ensure that the quality of its products exceeds market demands. As evidence of this, the business has achieved a number of highly acclaimed certificates, including ISO 9001, QS 9000, VDA 6.1 and ISO 14001. These standards are implemented throughout the company to ensure both high quality and environmentally friendly processes, products and services.
Gerhard elaborates: “Quality is extremely important to us – we operate a ‘zero defect’ programme, which separates us from our competitors, especially in Asia. This is also the reason why we can compete in the automotive lighting industry even through we are based in a high-cost country like Germany.”
He continues: “We didn’t achieve our zero defect standards overnight – this was a long learning curve. We work very closely with our customers and have developed strong relationships with them. We take their feedback seriously – this helps us to improve the quality of our products and services. They understand that we learn from our mistakes, therefore we have developed learning programmes to ensure continual improvements.”
With this ‘zero defects’ programme in place, Narva, with help from the Philips group, develops products, which are becoming unrivalled in the marketplace. Aside from quality, the business is also concentrating on improving its efficiency. Gerhard comments: “With the cost of raw materials increasing on a constant basis, we have to ensure that we are as efficient as possible, therefore we can save costs in other areas of the business. For example, we have developed a selfdriving programme, which encourages our employees to improve their individual efficiency. Furthermore, we benefit from Philips’ well established training programmes, which our entire workforce has to undertake.”
With approximately 50 years experience in the automotive lighting industry, Narva has become one of the leading players in the market. In order to gain this position, the company has developed a product range, which meets the many different needs of its customers. “We have recently developed a new special coated lamp, which has been received well in all our markets, especially in Asia. This lamp is ideal for people who cannot afford Xenon lamps, as it provides the bluish-white colour light but at halogen price,” Gerhard explains.
Product development is essential for Narva to remain at the forefront of the market. Looking at the current condition of the industry, Gerhard comments: “One of the main challenges within the automotive lighting sector is the increasing capabilities of the Chinese and Indian bulb manufacturers. In the past, these companies only served their local markets but they are now looking further a field – this will be major competition for us in the future. Another issue is the increasingpopularity of LEDs. At the moment, these types of lights cannot compete because they are very expensive but we see this changing over the next five to eight years. To help us overcome this challenge, the Philips group has invested into LED development – we are now waiting to see if our factory will be benefiting from this.”
Looking to the future, Narva has plans to develop more products for the aftermarket and the speciality industry. Gerhard concludes: “There are plenty of opportunities within this area and the profit margins are significantly higher than the OEM market. We are now researching the industry to find the right niche area to expand into. As a result, we are meeting with our clients on a regular basis to help us determine what their needs are. In addition, with the use of the Philips’ group resources, we believe we can become very strong within these areas.”
Products: Automotive lighting