ZF India Technology Center New Minds for New Solutions

The first ZF technology center in India is an essential building block of the company’s digitalization strategy.

On March 2, 2017, the company opens the doors to its new ZF India Technology Center (ITC) in Hyderabad, thus ushering in an era of change at ZF. The center will initially employ 1,000 engineers, but that number will increase to at least 2,500 by 2020.

Engineers at ZF in India are by no means a novelty. The company has had operations on the Asian subcontinent for over three decades. In fact, the U.S. company TRW, which was acquired by ZF in May 2015, has been in India for roughly half a century. Today, ZF has over 19 production facilities in India and employs 14,000 employees, including joint ventures. Nevertheless, the Group is entering new territory with the opening of the ITC as this is its first technology center in India. Even more importantly, instead of working on traditional mechanical components, three-quarters of the engineers at Hyderabad will be focused on developing innovative electronics and software solutions.

Video: The ZF India Technology Center

A changing industry

Mamatha Chamarthi, chief digital officer at ZF, sums it all up by saying: “We are moving from a hardware defined world to a software defined world. Every feature and product in the car is getting connected and the car itself on a whole is getting connected.”

In the above, Chamarthi alludes to the dramatic upheaval currently underway in the automobile industry. While the demand for mobility worldwide is rising significantly, new technologies, concepts and solutions are coming into focus. The competitive environment is also being disrupted, with competing companies from seemingly unrelated mobility industries establishing themselves on the market. The essential driver behind these trends is digitalization. ZF is thus restructuring itself to become the technology leader that will shape the megatrends of the future – efficiency, safety and automated driving. The global supplier is using its increasing digital expertise in order to endow mechanical systems with intelligence. The long-term objective is Vision Zero – a world with zero accidents and zero emissions – and ZF products are going to help it get there.

Software will be the decisive factor in this whole process. Consequently, ZF is leveraging India’s immense resources – its highly qualified engineers. “The Indian Technology Center will be rapidly integrated into the engineering ecosystem and will become a pillar of innovation for the company,” explains CDO Mamatha Chamarthi. "As demand for software engineering grows, ZF will exponentially increase capacity to help meet customers’ growth aspirations in both the global and local market.”

Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, is highly satisfied with how quickly the most recent India plans were implemented: “In a dynamically changing and increasingly digital world, speed is of the essence. We are proud to have been able to set up the Indian Technology Center in a short period of time.” After all, ZF had only announced the construction of the ITC back in September 2016.

Just how important the ZF ITC is for ZF's digitalization strategy can also be clearly seen in the numbers. A total of 15 million Euro is planned to be invested in the location, continuing over the next five years.

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