Tier 1 automotive supplier Mobex Global manages success with a light touch
To be flawless, one must be bold, accomplished, and deft. At Mobex Global, whose brand promise guarantees flawless performance, those qualities are embedded in their very structure. As a supplier of propulsion agnostic chassis and powertrain components to Tier 1 OEMs, the Southfield, Mich.-based firm is built on the legacy of its former identity as Busche Performance Group, and is unfolding as a vibrant, brand new organization positioned to be the ideal partner to blue chip OEMs in the automotive, agriculture, industrial, and construction sectors.
Speaking to the press about the rebrand, company president and CEO Joe Perkins explained, “We saw an emerging need for a company in our space that can pace the needs of the evolving mobility market with engineered, precision cast, and machined components. We took a hard look, reorganized, optimized processes, and enhanced capabilities—and built such a company. We’re quick, innovative, and capable of seamlessly and swiftly bringing the advanced product possibilities of new technologies to bear on our customers’ vehicle programs.”
Specialists in the advanced design, engineering, and manufacturing of advanced lightweight, precision-cast, and machined aluminum components, Mobex creations are found on everything from passenger cars and SUVs to full size trucks.
“We support agriculture, commercial, and industrial markets through our machining core competency, and we’re adept at the complex machining needs of different metal alloys,” EVP and Chief Commercial Officer Jesse Kalkman said. “We’re fortunate to have a diverse customer base and diverse industries that we sell into.” Mobex boasts 16 facilities in North America, 15,000 square feet of in-house testing laboratories, and a host of diverse and continually expanding capabilities garnered through strategic acquisitions and joint ventures.
In the transformation, the new Mobex revamped their leadership team and product and customer strategies to open pathways for market dominance. “We're a company that has evolving capabilities and aspirations,” Kalkman continued. “We have full vertical capabilities in design, prototyping, and tooling. Our workholding division designs CNC fixtures and tooling. We cast, machine, and assemble, and we are able to effectively and flawlessly launch large automotive programs. In dealing directly with the largest OEMs in North America, we see the culture is evolving.”
The cultural shift toward electric mobility solutions was one motivator for change. “Mobex is about excellence in mobility. We have the ability to help enable and shape the future of automotive, which seems to be leaning toward a movement away from certain propulsion systems, from internal combustion engines to hybrids and electric vehicles,” he stressed.
“In hybrid and electric vehicles mass is a serious concern and our ability to participate in that is a big deal. Of course, internal combustion engines have considerations around mass requirements for fuel economy, but we want to be a part of the future of mobility. Aluminum is the right place to focus, and if you look at where we're going from a product strategy standpoint it really is around how we optimize designs for mass. We shine in our ability to get involved up front when customers engage us to help with their challenges. It's around being able to design and process that design, from a casting perspective in a short amount of time to an optimized level. That's really where we've added a tremendous amount of value to our customers.”
Their prowess is not limited to the automotive sector. Diversification in the industrial, commercial, and agricultural markets helped to shelter the firm from automotive industry constrictions as a result of the pandemic, thriving thanks to marquee customers such as John Deere.
As market demands shift, agility is key. “Our ability to be agile and nimble means a lot. We are completely ingrained in what our customers are doing and very intimate with their design needs,” he said. As trends evolve in an uncertain climate, prognostication is risky. “None of us, not us or the OEMs have the answers about how quickly EVs will come to market, but we know we're going to support that as quickly as our customers need. That's the partnership that we bring. Our speed to market and agility does not exist with larger companies. It does not exist in companies that aren't customer oriented and we are. That is our space.”
Kalkman is responsible for the Mobex procurement organization, which focuses on partnership and alignment. “We spend time on our commodity strategies to make sure we identify those companies that have the same mind set as us: can-do attitude, solutions oriented. We value our place in the value streams of our customers. That’s something that everybody’s probably doing, but the differentiator is how effectively you do it. We’re working hard on that.”
Navigating a new post-pandemic world is a concern. “In this environment, not knowing what the future holds means that we need to spend a little bit more time on risk management. Where are those trouble spots that we potentially need to be prepared to address, and how do we do it? Our current circumstances provide an opportunity to be best prepared to serve our customers in any market condition,” he said.
Knowing the right people to work with puts Kalkman’s mind at ease.
“A continued focus on process, quality, and automated solutions allows us to strengthen our partnerships; not only customer partners but suppliers as well. Mid-State Engineering is an example of a valuable resource and solution provider.
“Now is the time where customers really need to think about who they want to partner with. We've done the same. It becomes even more important as the industry and market needs evolve. Our lightweight components are also safety-critical, so as they evaluate who they buy their products from they also have to evaluate the safety criticality of the components in the chassis space. The ability for OEMs to find that trusted partner becomes even more important.”
The people of Mobex are the power behind this rapid, effective transformation. “Whether on the shop floor or in the headquarters the passion for the company by the individuals that compose it is outstanding. The culture of the company is evolving, and I'm impressed and glad to be working side-by-side with the employees at Mobex,” Kalkman enthused.
“We’ve delivered flawlessly on everything we've done to date, we've been entrusted with some of the best platforms and programs out there, and we've delivered. We’re excited about our future.”
Mobex Global innovates, engineers and manufactures safety-critical aluminum chassis, suspension, engine, and driveline components for the mobility industry as well as precision machined cast iron components for the agricultural, construction and industrial markets. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, Mobex Global operates global manufacturing and service centers in North America, Europe and China.