With the development of electromobility and the new manufacturing needs in the automotive industry, the industry is introducing a number of new technologies that require high production capacity, talent and an organizational culture that drives continuous improvement. A clear example of pioneering in this direction is the global giant Sensata Technologies, whose office in Bulgaria gathers specialists in multiple engineering fields in one place with the idea of creating working solutions for the future.
In fact, Bulgaria is the country around which all the new technologies of the company (for the European region) gravitate, and the center in Plovdiv produces millions of pressure sensors every year, which have a critical application such as the braking systems or the engines of leading car manufacturers in the world.
The company ensures a completely closed loop of its innovations. “At Sensata, we carry out both the development of each product, machine or process, as well as its project management – in continuous contact with the customer and management of each phase of the production cycle. This combination is extremely specific for Sensata and is rare for the manufacturing sector in our country, and its scale is impressive even for large international companies in the country”, says Yavor Nikolov, general manager of Sensata in Plovdiv.
Achievements and awards
The Sensata teams in Plovdiv are working hard to implement innovative approaches in manufacturing, and one of them was also awarded in the “Capital” awards for “Factory of the Year” for the “Most Innovative Project of 2022”. The award is for creating an integrated system of hardware and software with artificial intelligence, developed entirely by a Bulgarian team. “One of the manufacturing processes is a visual inspection, where a person observes the sensors under a microscope for various defects. The software, with which we are already working successfully, replaces the previous labor-intensive activity, managing to analyze more than 30 defects simultaneously in a matter of seconds,” commented Nikolov.
Continuous process improvement and precise execution are extremely important in the automotive industry, for which in May Sensata Technologies was awarded by the Lean Institute Bulgaria precisely for the comprehensive implementation of the so-called LEAN approach in management – both in production practices and the company’s human resources.
Sensata proves in practice that its strategy is to give a chance for development from the lowest level to managerial positions. The company’s plant in Plovdiv is open to new employees who are just starting their professional life – through dual training with vocational high schools, Open Days, internship programs and even subsidizing higher education for young talents. “The human qualities, value system and willingness to learn are the most important for a successful employee. Everything else can be absorbed and upgraded within the organization,” says Yavor Nikolov, who has over 10 years of managerial experience in the automotive sector in Eastern and Western Europe, the USA, China and Mexico.
“In our engineering team, we have exceptional specialists capable of training each new colleague and introducing them to the technologies and work processes,” he adds. Key for the company in this aspect is the internal “Technical ladder” program, which allows technical experts to rise to the highest levels of the organization without having to lead large teams. In this way, the company offers opportunities for the development of both leaders and employees with deep knowledge in a given field.
The combination of this engineering expertise, development of innovative projects and good management creates conditions for increasing production lines and capacity in Plovdiv. Sensata plans a dynamic expansion of its activity in Bulgaria in the coming years by focusing on electric vehicle construction, which will also lead to new jobs with high added value both within the company and with local partners and suppliers.