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Yanfeng Automotive Interiors Delivers 3000% Return On Investment



An intensely competitive business environment challenges the employees at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors every day to deliver superior products for the world’s leading automakers. Automotive interiors components and systems must be manufactured to exacting standards to ensure safety and durability. The quality of the manufacturing process is critical.

When the expectations for quality are this high, there is no time for production issues. As Joel Beezhold, vice president of global operations, succinctly puts it, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors responds to those problems by “doing a KT on it.” His reference is to Kepner-Tregoe’s Problem Solving & Decision Making (PSDM) program.

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors was formed during 2015, as a joint venture of Yanfeng, one of the largest automotive suppliers in China, and Adient, the global leader in automotive seating and formerly a part of Johnson Controls.

Mr. Beezhold brought KT’s PSDM program with him from Johnson Controls and implemented it at the newly formed company, based on his experience with the value of KT’s PSDM and the excellent results it delivered. Not only is PSDM a competitive advantage for Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, it has also generated a verified ROI of 3,000%, based upon the verification program that was in place at Johnson Controls.

KT Problem Solving & Decision Making for All

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ ultimate goal is for all 33,000 of its employees at 114 global locations in 20 countries to complete training in KT’s PSDM program. This will include all salaried employees, such as engineers, and C-suite executives in the company’s North American, Asia Pacific, and European locations.

In 2017, as part of this program, three program leaders have conducted PSDM classes for over 130 people and Beezhold expects a total of close to 200 by the end of this year. The goal is one class per quarter with 25 attendees per program leader, or 100 trained per quarter, 400 per year. With additional program leaders being trained, he expects to increase the number of classes and attendees to help achieve Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ goals.

With the goal of more of our team attending KT’s PSDM class, Kepner-Tregoe is helping us provide the initial problem-solving training with its online, or virtual, environment.

The Plan

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is developing a three-level KT PSDM program.

  • Level 1 is for line workers in manufacturing, so they can learn how to troubleshoot problems during the manufacturing process and help to resolve problems that require little or none of the time of supervisors. Level 1 is in the process of being defined.
  • Level 2 provides supervisors who interact with internal customers with KT Problem Solving & Decision Making to address specific root cause issues related to these customers.
  • Level 3 (currently in place) is where engineers, vice presidents, directors and other upper management receive KT’s Problem Solving & Decision Making training.

Our KT PSDM goals are certainly ambitious, but the ROI we’ve generated to date is poised to drive even stronger improvement in our team’s performance, the growth of the company, a competitive position and a bright future for our employees, stakeholders and customers.


An ROI Off the Charts

Claiming a ROI of 3,000% from the KT PSDM program may seem an exaggeration, but the program and the numbers are straightforward.

A major requirement of the training, is that each attendee must apply the skills he or she is learning to projects of his or her choice. Often, this is an actual problem he or she has confronted or is currently dealing with in the workplace. This helps to create a seamless experience from the PSDM class to the workplace and allows trainees to put what they learned into practice immediately. A critical component to the Yanfeng Automotive Interiors program is a financial controller’s validation and verification of the project results. Having this quantified project validation supports ongoing investment in training and skills development with data-driven results.

As of October 2017, 85 of the 130+ Yanfeng personnel who had completed the PSDM course during the year had submitted their projects and had been certified. Mr. Beezhold expects 90% of the total to be certified by the end of the year.

Mr. Beezhold added that over 130 tracked-and closed projects had generated a per-project average of $10,000. Larger projects, such as cost avoidance types, are not included in this total, but he expects a total of 160 projects closed by the end of 2017.

The Validation Process

At the end of each fiscal year, Mr. Beezhold reviews and analyzes all the problems submitted from those in the KT PSDM classes. Then, a financial controller verifies the ROI of each project. Of the KT projects submitted during 2016, the average return was $10,000 and some had a return of as much as $50,000.

It would be difficult to find a better investment for our people than Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving & Decision Making program, given the low cost per trainee, the results in the workplace and the validated ROI,” said Beezhold. “As a crucial partner, KT helps us create an army of problem solvers and decision makers to reduce the costs dramatically related to problems and risks. Not only do we save money and maximize our bottom line, but also our customers are extremely satisfied.

About Yanfeng Automotive Interiors

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) is the global leader in automotive interiors. YFAI is redefining how people relax, work and play in their vehicle interiors today and decades from now. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has approximately 110 manufacturing plants and technical centers in 20 countries and more than 33,000 employees globally. They design, develop and manufacture interior components for all automakers. Established in 2015, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is a joint venture between Yanfeng, one of the largest automotive suppliers in China and Adient, the global leader in automotive seating. For more information, please visit

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