The business of Hyosung Vietnam produces spandex yarn, technical yarn, polyester tire cord, nylon tire cord, steel cord, and bead wire products. Senior Vice President Yeo Ye-geun, who is in charge of managing the manufacturing plants for steel cords and bead wires, received the Hyosung Employee Award by improving the steel cord UT (Ultra Tensile) burnout rate and contributing to enhancing productivity and reducing costs.
Steel cords, used as reinforcement materials, are categorized by intensity into normal tensile, high tensile, super tensile, ultra tensile, and mega tensile. Currently steel tire cord is under development to commercialize the steel cords currently used by tire manufacturers into ultra tensile as well as mega tensile. Efforts to improve the intensity of steel cords are necessary because increased intensity of steel cord, which is a reinforcement material, will reduce the amount of reinforcement materials put into tires. The smaller the amount of reinforcement materials, the tire becomes lighter, while also resulting in the improvement of fuel efficiency of cars and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are disconnection issues that arise with improved intensity of steel cords. Steel cords especially suffer huge loss due to disconnection, as their length must be consistent in the tire manufacturing process.
“Burnout rate is the number of disconnections occurred in producing 1 ton of products. Steel cord UT has by far the highest burnout rate, and the price is high as much as the production is tough. I thought I would be able to contribute to the company’s growth by turning the high value-added product of steel cord UT into a general product.”
He developed a variety of ideas and tested them within the range of his understanding or experiences in order to increase the productivity of steel cord UT, but it was no use. He could actually make a verifiable accomplishment only as he began to consider the conditions of all factors beyond common sense. “If we face a certain problem or difficulty, someone will clearly solve it; so I think it’s better to just deal with it ourselves. My habit and tendency of organizing causal relations for surrounding phenomena also helped in problem solving.”
The U.S. and Japan were monopolizing the market and technology of carbon fiber. The Carbon Fiber R&D Team of the Hyosung R&DB Labs led by Senior Vice President Bang Yoon-hyuk succeeded in developing carbon fiber with independent technique. They developed carbon fiber, which has high barriers for technology and new market entry, for the first time in the Korean history.
“I received a doctor’s degree in carbon fiber, which is uncommon in Korea. At the time, 80% of the carbon fiber market was dominated by companies in the U.S. and Japan. I thought I had to take on the challenge as carbon fiber has business value.”
Bang and his R&D Team, which have prepared for the commercialization of carbon fiber for a long time, received the research fund of KRW 40 billion to conduct the national project. The accomplishment was all due to their detailed analysis of the necessity of commercialization, growth rate and market with relevant departments and adequate discussions with the management regarding the development of carbon fiber. More than anything, the outstanding manpower of the research team formed the grounds for visible accomplishment. Bang as well as many researchers had the experience of developing the precursor creation technology, which is the stage right before the completion of carbon fiber after carbonization, which accelerated the development of the core technology. It is also noteworthy that they completed the Jeonju Carbon Fiber Plant in only a year by carrying out various jobs simultaneously. It was all thanks to the cooperation of the relevant staff of the Ulsan and Anyang Plants, and the researchers who had excellent research skills as well as engineering skills.
“The system was in rapid progress thanks to the researchers’ ability to design the process of their own research. I really appreciate the fact that they did their best to complete the construction of the plant in such a short period of time, even though many of them lived in other regions.”
The Jeonju Carbon Fiber Plant is producing the world’s top-class carbon fiber products with independent technology for the first time in Korea since this April. Hyosung products have also secured quality competitiveness as the intensity, modulus of elasticity and mho level that determine the quality of carbon fiber all exceed the quality of the best products of our competitors. This results from the researchers’ devotion to researching day and night since 2007, even giving up their vacations.
“The carbon fiber production process is risky, and our researchers suffered many hardships as they were also in charge of plant establishment and design. The 24-hour carbon fiber process required two weeks only for the development test, and the carbonization process that gradually increased the temperature from 200℃ to 1,500℃ was a battle with the heat.”
Overcoming such difficulties, Bang and his research team developed Korea’s first mid-performance (H-2550)/high-performance (H-3055) carbon fiber in 2011 and 2012 with independent technology. Moreover, they acquired 70 patents in the carbon fiber field alone. Bang thinks that this Hyosung Employee Award, given for his contribution to quality competitiveness, is an award for not only himself but his team members who have been through a great deal together. He says he still has a remaining task.
“Advanced countries developed carbon fiber 30-40 years ago. To secure our position as the leader of the carbon fiber industry, we must continue our efforts with pride. I would like to express my gratitude and encouragement for my coworkers in the Jeonju Plant who devoted themselves to this project for seven years.”
Hyosung Zhuhai Office Department Head Lee Jae-woo is in charge of selling spandex yarn (creora) produced in Hyosung plants located in Jiaxing, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai of China. He has promoted the superiority of creora for clients that manufacture elastic materials such as underwear, stockings and pantyhose in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Sichuan of Eastern China. Achieving the highest sales in China this year, he won the Hyosung Employee Award for his accomplishment in securing the top market share in Eastern China and generating KRW 14.5 billion in sales.
The key to success was his active and systematic sales capacity, enhancing added value by grasping clients’ characteristics and presenting suitable products. He established offices in markets with high demand and recruited experienced employees who know the area very well, and continued to develop new clients. He selected creora products according to the needs of the new clients, and conducted sales activities so that they recognize the differentiated characteristics. As the quality of creora achieved recognition through comparison with competitors’ products, Hyosung could differentiate the selling price and increase profits.
“Client is the answer to everything. To meet various clients at the right time, we work in local offices on weekdays and do not stay for more than two days in the same region.”
Lee has worked hard in the field to analyze the significance of Eastern China and its market trend. In fact, Shaoxing of Zhejiang in which he established a sales office in November 2004 grew into China’s largest textile market. He is still making his utmost efforts to develop new markets in order to solidify the position of creora, which is leading the spandex market.
“If we subdivide the market, research clients’ products, and continue to develop differentiated products, we can secure price competitiveness while also maximizing profits. We will increase the number of offices and dispatch our sales workforce so that we can gradually encounter customers of more diverse areas.”
Having established sales networks quickly with his distinctive driving force, he says, “What I did is merely 1% of the work.” He says it would have been impossible without the management of China that constantly presented plans to generate profits, resident employees and Chinese workers in each production plant in charge of the best quality, and members of sales and technological service teams in charge of jurisdictions.
“Responsibility management is about keeping the company’s business plans by predicting and preparing for changes in the markets, customers, competitors and economic variables using the given authority and finances. The 25 salespeople who have worked with me in the great land of China did their best to accomplish responsibility management. They tested the new products until late at night, and visited our customers even on weekends to resolve their inconveniences.”
Lee thinks that he has received this award on behalf of all the employees who made efforts to make creora the best product. He will continue to practice responsibility management by keeping his promise with clients and the company.
Deputy Department Head Park Chan-yong of the Communication Team in the Support Division, who is in charge of Hyosung’s general CI management, public relations, and exhibitions, has raised the need for a sustainability report since 2010. He received the Hyosung Employee Award for his efforts in leading the publication of the Sustainability Report, which contributes to the enhancement of Hyosung’s competitiveness internally and externally.
“I became more convinced as I received the sustainability report training of Korea Productivity Center. As I researched, I found out that 95% of 250 global companies are publishing the report.”
After the preparation for two years, he worked in cooperation with Korea Productivity Center and departments of each PG/PU for six months. As a result, Hyosung Group’s first Sustainability Report was completed in May. It included contents such as sustainable growth engines (economy), partners for win-win growth (society), and establishment of the green management system (environment), as well as various activities of each PG.
“There are various business units in Hyosung Group, each and every one with its own characteristics. Korea Productivity Center, which helped develop the report, said they have never seen any other company with as many managers as Hyosung. I asked the fifty or so managers selected by each PG/PU and office for information on interviews and data collection.”
Hyosung’s first Sustainability Report received A+ level from DNV (Det Norske Veritas), which is one of the three world-class international certification agency with a network of over 17,000 experts in 100 nations worldwide. The reliability, which is vital to the report, achieved recognition through an objective verification of a global institution.
“We produced the report based on the GRI Guide used by most companies in publishing reports. It wasn’t easy to collect and verify data of the GRI items by requesting information from each business unit constantly. I’m happy to receive A+ for the report, but more than anything I’m happy to have published the first Sustainability Report for Hyosung. It would have been impossible without the fifty or so managers of business units and offices who provided massive data and materials.”
Hyosung’s Sustainability Report with enhanced objective reliability will be used as an IR material or presented as an attachment for bidding to global companies. Recently, this report was used to take prompt measures in the request for supplier CSR investigation from Michelin, a client of the Tire & Industrial Reinforcements PU, and ONTEX, a client of spandex. Park says the current report must continue to evolve to contribute to the sustainable management of Hyosung. They will be able to find ways to improve only if they publish the report annually and diagnose the company’s problems.
“The current report is produced based on the GRI Guide Ver. 3.1. The GRI Guide will be upgraded to Ver. 4.0, which is much more specific and thus requires continuous efforts of the entire organization. I will also do my best to continue publishing reports that meet the international standard.”