AS-PL Sp. z o.o. is a European company that supplies parts and electrical components for vehicles with over 29 years of experience. Currently, the company employs over 290 qualified professionals and cooperates with distributors and wholesalers of spare parts for vehicles all over the world. The company offers more than 20,000 different products with almost 450,000 reference numbers. In 2004, products manufactured under the own brand name “AS” were introduced. The remanufacturing products from AS-PL Production Plant are in the offer as well, currently several hundred models of remanufactured alternators and starters. Goods offered by the company undergo strict testing procedures and meet the highest requirements in relation to their assembly and technical parameters. All alternators and starters offered by the company are tested using specialist machinery supplied, among others, by Canadian D&V Electronics. Interview with Robert Snider, CMO at AS-PL Sp. z o.o. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Robert Snider: AS-PL supplies parts and electrical components for vehicles. Our core products are alternators and starters, original, replacements, and remanufactured ones. The products include parts and components for passenger cars, lorries, agricultural machines, boats, motorcycles, and for the industrial market. Long-term cooperation and selling to about 100 countries in the world make the company a leader in the field of supplying parts and electrical components for vehicles. E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products? R.S: Every day the new products appear in our offer. Since the beginning of the year, it has expanded by 330 types of alternators and starters, and 357 different parts for them. The company’s headquarters are located in Poland. Here you can find also our three big warehouses, the Sales Department office and a Production Plant. Our foreign branch offices are located in UK and Italy. In the term of novelties in 2021, we’re planning the expansion of the company’s production, storage, and office space needs to be added. The opening of another branch office outside of Poland is planned soon. E.E: What are the ranges of products? R.S: Core products are alternators and starters, original, replacements, and remanufactured ones intended for passenger cars, lorries, agricultural machines, boats, motorcycles, and for the industrial market. The products are divided into three product lines: Premium Line – the option addressed to the customers who are looking for the best quality. Products supplied by world-class OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) manufacturers and selected products of AS brand. Standard Line – the leading product line of the AS brand, option directed to the customers looking for high quality and reliable products at a competitive price. Economy Line – the line of products that merge the quality at a reasonable price. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? R.S: AS-PL is working on the Aftermarket/ Rotating Electric branch. The Automotive industry which we are a part of is dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently in deep crisis. Multiple manufacturers and suppliers of components for production are struggling with the pandemic. Timely execution of orders is currently a major challenge, as there is a collapse of a supply chain for many companies. Besides, the companies from the Automotive industry experienced production downtimes, workshop closures, etc. which reduced requisition for the automotive parts. The pandemic has caused growing fear of customers about buying the new cars. The effect – the number of new cars purchased in 2020 dropped drastically. Due to turbulence in the insurance markets, customer acquisition and the process of gaining new markets is more difficult than before. All this together with more stringent emission standards, caused the revision of the approach of the companies in the automotive industry for the new situation from 2020. One of the new solutions of the new approach is the digitization of processes and remote working. A lot of automotive companies have implemented new solutions and systems that enable them to work during the lockdowns. Despite the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, our company managed to achieve more than a 7% increase in the company’s revenue in 2020 compared to the previous year. These results show that AS-PL is prepared for extraordinary situations, which we are trying to turn into new opportunities. This is a sign for us that the results in 2021 can be better than in 2020. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? R.S: Due to the COVID pandemic, we are experiencing very fast digitization of processes and the wide spreading of remoting way of work. These trends were present before, but not growing that fast as a present. Unfortunately, the chain supply of products and materials has been disturbed. Timely execution of orders can be a challenge. Multiple manufacturers and suppliers of components for production are struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. More stringent emission standards have been introduced. Car manufacturers and their suppliers will have to adjust their products according to the new requirements. The Automotive industry is still in crisis and insurance companies treat the companies from that industry as a high degree of risk. Due to this, customer acquisition and the process of gaining new markets will be more difficult than before. This makes it crucial to reduce the risks when establishing new business relationships. Since the end of 2020, we have been observing an increasing interest in spare parts in the aftermarket market. This proves that customers are now investing more in used cars than in buying new ones. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? R.S: The automotive industry is developing very fast. New advanced products and technologies appear, and vehicles are adapted to legal requirements (Green Deal of European Union, etc.). AS-PL, as a manufacturer of automotive parts, reacts dynamically to changes and automotive novelties. As a company that is primarily involved in electrical fittings for combustion engines of units, we need to work on the development of an alternative branch of products, a portfolio of products to modern drives – whether they are hybrid, electric, or perhaps hydrogen drives. We have the green remanufactured products in the offer. We doubled the production volume of them and want to expand this number more. Currently, our assembly capabilities of remanufactured products are about 12 thousand pieces per month, which is over 15% more of the monthly sales of alternators and starter motors. AS-PL products evolve based on new drive units used in vehicles. We can mention vehicles with Start-Stop systems with reinforced starters. In the future, many of the technologies we know today will either be improved or replaced with more modern ones. Today, however, combustion-powered vehicles constitute the vast majority of cars that drive on the road and will continue to be an important part of the automotive market for many years to come. Robert Snider, CMO at AS-PL Sp. z o.o. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? R.S: Constant widening of the products in the offer together with the expanding our range of green remanufactured products. In the reference to more stringent emission standards, which imply a slow transition away from combustion engines, we do not expect combustion engines to be replaced by alternative systems as soon as governments are planning. As a company which is primarily involved in electrical fittings for these types of units, we need to work on the development of an alternative branch of products. We will continue to strive to professionalize our company into a niche and we are positive that we will find a slot in the market for ourselves, and that we will adjust our portfolio of products to modern drives – whether they are hybrid, electric, or perhaps hydrogen drives. The company has a plan for further dynamic development. One of the larger projects planned for the near future will be the expansion of the company’s production, storage, and office space. To the currently owned 14,000 m2 of storage space is planned to expand by another 10,000 m2 which is already in the process of design. Additionally, after the successful premiere of the warehouse in Italy, we are planning to open another branch outside of Poland.