打造台灣自行車島:巨大捷安特

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2009 / 9月

文‧楊齡媛 圖‧巨大公司提供


2008年一場無預警的金融海嘯席捲全球,幾乎讓所有產業陷入蕭條,唯有能趕搭「節能減碳」新趨勢的產業才得以站上浪頭。而又古老又未來、又儉樸又時髦的自行車業,正是此波的最大勝出者。


台灣自行車業在2008年創下了出口量540萬台、較前一年多出65萬台(13.68%)的好成績,出口金額達13.88億美元;平均單價則從前年的221美元提升為256美元,足以顯示台灣自行車已逐步切入高品質、高價位的市場。

其中的龍頭企業巨大集團,去年全球(含台灣)總體出貨量達520萬台,創下台幣414億元的總營收,並以亞洲區市場成長最多,尤其台灣本地市場更是倍增,熱銷情況迄今不衰。

今年3月下旬,台北國際自行車展在南港展覽館開展,共有577家國內廠商與來自32國的185家國外廠商參展,是舉辦22年來規模最大的一場,整場規模已挺進亞洲最大,並與德國、美國並稱全球3大自行車展。

頂級品牌,台灣製造

展場中央,有間攤位總是人潮湧動,他們全是慕「捷安特」名號而來;展間裡,一輛遠從歐洲廠空運來台的TCR Advanced SL LTD吸引了大眾的目光,這是專為職業車隊所打造的頂級公路車,售價台幣45萬元。

這款搭配最先進Shimano Dura Ace Di2電子式變速套件系統的自行車,不但以按鈕操作取代傳統的變速把手,且伺服馬達可以提供變速器更快速、更精確的變速行程,符合競速車手的需求,在台灣僅獲限量配額30台。

另一款自行車 Defy Advanced LTD同樣受到媒體注目,這是巨大董事長劉金標為了挑戰從北京到上海、長達1,668公里的征途而親自設計的公路自行車。他依據自身75歲高齡騎乘的考量,採用輕量化3K碳纖維的車架與前叉,並特別向日本Shimano公司訂製零組件,全車僅重7.5kg,售價台幣15萬8,000元,全球限量75台。

「目前全球兩輪車市研發的趨勢,還是著重於功能上,而捷安特的最新產品,則融合了『公路車』與『登山車』的優點。」擔任產品開發高級工程師的黃華鈞指出,現代都會樂活族都渴望騎著單車遊山玩水,為了騎上陡峭的山路,必須買一台強調避震舒適、煞車穩定、元件堅實的登山車,但笨重的車身走在一般平面道路上卻很吃力;有人因此會換上較細的車胎,或再加買一台公路腳踏車。

為了滿足客戶騎乘玩樂一車到底的需求,巨大在會場上展出了一款歷經3年才研發成功的GIANT Adventure,是去年10月推出的「跨界」新產品,號稱兼備了登山車、公路車與折疊車的功能:低跨點、高平衡感、重量輕,同時採用可快速拆解、車體一體成型的新設計,外觀看起來簡潔而有現代感,售價4萬8,000元,已在台灣試銷,之後預計售往日本,並進入國際市場。

創造需求,另闢新藍海

攤位上,另一款「晶」光閃閃的腳踏車Avail Diamond,全車鑲滿了施華洛世奇水晶,是專為女性設計的車款,售價雖高達6~7萬元,但首度亮相立刻成為詢問度極高的超人氣商品。

其實,巨大捷安特自去年起,為了進駐女性市場,不但成立全球首創、標榜可完全依據女性的需求、身材量身設計的女性自行車專賣店Liv/giant,也為各階層女性打造專屬的自行車款,果然吸引了不少屬於粉領族、情侶族或親子族的女性躍躍欲試。

「創造需求,滿足需求」,這正是巨大近年為了開創「第二個藍海──BO2」所訂定的「環境改造」策略。雖然早在20年前,巨大即在董事長劉金標的催生下成立「自行車新文化基金會」,積極推動台灣的自行車騎乘風氣,並與政府攜手改善騎乘環境,但直到近幾年,苦心經營的成果才逐漸顯現。

例如:推動5月為「台灣自行車月」、5月5日為「自行車日」、與各縣市政府規劃自行車專用道路網,包括北市河濱公園、北海岸、新竹西濱海岸、台中縣的山城與舊山線鐵道、彰化八卦山、屏東墾丁、花蓮南濱至七星潭、台東關山環鎮自行車道等,並創建「甲地租、乙地還」的服務系統……。鍥而不捨、一步步突破下,終於全面引爆台灣的自行車樂活風潮。

Giant自行車島

2年前,劉金標隻身騎單車環遊台灣,今年又再次挑戰「京滬長征」,希望帶出新一波的鐵馬健兒風。今年4月,巨大更與華信航空異業結盟,共同推廣海內外自行車旅遊市場。除了由華信認證「鐵馬環台」哩程數、供旅客兌換折抵飛機哩程數外,雙方並整合全球據點,設計各種單車套裝行程,讓台灣單車族也能在世界各地奔馳無礙。

巨大還宣佈以台幣1,000萬元資本額成立「捷安特旅行社」,首先鎖定兩岸與日本的客層,之後透過巨大在歐洲的2,000個實體店面來行銷台灣,塑造台灣的「自行車島」形象,企圖為台灣與巨大共創雙贏。

現在的巨大,僅以專門生產高單價車種的台灣總部日產量來算,一天就能產出4,400台單車;但,很難想像,37年前由9位股東集資400萬元成立的巨大,開張的頭4年,卻遇到能源危機後的全球不景氣,在沒有專業技術、沒有品牌形象下,還差點因為接不到訂單而倒閉呢!

當時堅持不肯服輸的劉金標,靠著高工所學自行改善技術,並在姐姐的長期金援,以及總經理羅祥安的加入下,為巨大爭取到美國自行車第一品牌Schwinn公司的代工機會,總算讓巨大有了穩定的代工收入。

好代工為好品牌之本

8年後,台灣自行車年出口量突破300萬台,取代日本成為世界最大的自行車產地,當時的巨大也已是台灣最大的自行車組裝廠,在亞洲的地位僅次於日本的石橋(Bridgestone,即現在的普利司通)。

以「品質」為核心價值,巨大不但推動「巨友工廠」協力體系,每年舉辦共榮大會,表彰優秀的協力廠商,並舉辦「品管先生小姐」選拔,配合品管圈、標準作業流程、改善提案制度等,還委請日本田邊經營顧問公司派員來廠輔導,並引進豐田式現場管理制度(後改稱GPS,GIANT Production System),把每台原需20小時組裝的流程大幅縮短為8小時,且將原材料的庫存量,從15天減縮為不能超過7天。再過10年後,巨大的自行車年產銷已達162萬台,創下台灣單一工廠的最高紀錄。

1980年代中期,巨大長年倚賴的客戶Schwinn(占代工比重75%)要轉往中國大陸另覓合作夥伴,這個創業以來的最大危機,卻也成為巨大自創品牌的轉機,劉金標更決定區隔兩者市場──巨大要走高價精品路線,並建立全球品牌專賣通路。

其實,在此之前,巨大已悄悄展開自創品牌的投石問路工作,並以「先歐洲,後美國」為策略,以免得罪Schwinn等美國客戶。Schwinn將訂單轉到中國,等於鬆開了巨大的緊箍咒,於是劉金標改採「全球品牌,當地深耕」策略,並遠赴荷蘭、美國建立區域總部,全力衝刺。

強化全球運籌

目前在巨大的經營策略上,品牌行銷占營收70%,代工則占30%。因為自創品牌、獲利不被剝削,所以能挺過1990年代的台幣大幅升值、大陸的改革開放,以及台灣資訊業興起等衝擊。

劉金標強調,巨大至今都是「自有品牌」與「代工」並重,並堅持「最好的」及「差異化」商品,每年不但固定投入營收的2%作為研發費用,並配合我國自行車產業的3N(3New)計畫──新材料、新功能、新用途,充實自身技術實力,進而達成以「創新價值」和「創意設計」來鞏固品牌知名度的目標。

「歐美大廠雖然擁有品牌及通路,但大多缺乏製造和研發的能量;台灣與大陸業者則擁有製造實力,但需要進一步強化,尤其要善用全球運籌的優勢,」劉金標指出。

為此,巨大利用廣布全球的產銷體系進行相互支應,例如:收集歐、美、台3大研發中心的資訊,並根據各地工資、人才、零組件等「比較利益」,分配至4個不同的生產基地進行製造;而旗下6大區域行銷中心除負責銷售與推廣外,並即時回報各項市場情報,讓生產線得以作出產銷調控的快速反應。

不僅如此,巨大每年投入總營業額8%作為全球行銷費用、策畫「GIANT」國際品牌的形象推廣,並贊助世界級的自行車隊或公益文化活動,且以「一地買車,全球服務」的方式,提供車架5年品質保證、投保產品責任險(一般自行車500萬美元、電動自行車300萬美元),在全球建立了良好的口碑。

中國重點品牌

隨著中國「世界工廠」地位確立,各國企業紛紛轉進大陸,而當地的自行車產業更是一日千里。自2001年開始,大陸自行車的出口量、出口值皆超越台灣,躍升為全球最大的自行車產地,巨大也是其中重要推手,並和宏痋B統一、旺旺並列為中國重點保護的4家台商商標之一。

劉金標表示,為了降低生產成本,前進中國是勢在必行。1992年,巨大決定透過新加坡的控股公司,在江蘇昆山設廠,以生產鋁合金、高碳鋼等中低價位登山車及城市車為主,目前年產能達250萬台,內、外銷各佔一半比例。

1993年,巨大又以技術作價方式,與上海最大的鳳凰自行車合資,設立巨鳳公司,專門生產兒童車,年產能達130萬台。去年4月又有天津新廠加入,使得巨大在華北天津、華東昆山及華南的成都都有完備的生產線,成為中國第一大自行車製造商。

團結才有力量──A-Team

為了不讓台灣自行車產業連根外移,2003年,巨大與原為競爭對手的美利達(Merida),聯手推動同業及上下游協力廠商共11家,共同成立A-Team(台灣自行車協進會);零件廠商可透過巨大和美利達的電子平台,預先獲知2個月內的訂單數量,先行備料,再由巨大和美利達每天下單,供應商每天交貨。這種創新合作模式,把台灣自行車業的研發製造能力整個串連起來,成為全球高級車的供應中心。

5年來,經過A-Team的協同整合,並與工研院合作,台灣自行車業者可以透過巨大開放性的PDM(Product Data Management)平台,分享先進的技術與研發成果。目前A-Team會員數已擴充到二十多家,甚至連國外大廠Shimano、Colnago等都相繼成為贊助會員。

在巨大的全球布局中,台灣總廠主要生產具碳纖維、鋁合金及避震架的高階自行車款,年產量80萬台,90%以上外銷。在台灣,巨大的市場占有率超過25%,為國內第一品牌,在美國專賣店市場則居第3大品牌,而在日本、澳洲、加拿大等地都是最大的自行車進口品 牌。

從賣自行車、賣週邊產品、成立專賣店、提供租車服務,到成立旅行社,巨大一步一腳印的努力,讓台灣「自行車王國」的美譽維持20年不墜,已成功締造了另一項台灣奇蹟!

巨大機械簡介 成立日期 1972年10月27日
實收資本額 新台幣 28億元
總營收 新台幣414億元(2008年)
主要產品 供應全系列自行車相關產品
企業排名
*2001年,《Forbes》選出「全球最佳小企業Top200」之一,並入選「Top 20」
*2003年起,Giant連續4年進入外貿協會評選「10大台灣國際品牌」
*連續9年獲「台灣精品」金質獎
全球據點 總部設於台灣,全球6個生產基地,銷售據點超過10,000點
專利數目 220個
市場佔有率
*在台灣市場佔有率超過25%,為國內第一品牌
*在歐、美均為3大品牌之一,在日、澳則為最大進口品牌
*在中國保持第一品牌之地位
全球員工數 約8,000 人
企業集團 巨瀚科技、捷安特公司

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近期文章

EN

Bicycles from Taiwan,Land of the GIANT!

Yang Ling-yuan /photos courtesy of courtesy of Giant /tr. by Phil Newell

Virtually every industry has suffered damage from the global financial tsunami of 2008. The only ones able to buck the trend have been those related to the increasingly important area of reducing carbon emissions. One of the biggest winners in this sea change has been an industry with both a long history and a strong future, one which combines simplicity with fashionability: bicycles.


In 2008, Taiwan's bicycle industry exported an impressive 5.4 million units, 650,000 more than in the previous year, worth a total of US$1.388 billion. Moreover, the price per unit rose from NT$221 two years ago to US$256 last year, indicating that bicycles from Taiwan have already penetrated the high-end, high-unit-price market.

The largest firm in the industry, Giant, last year produced 5.2 million cycles at its various plants worldwide, and had total operating revenues of NT$41.4 billion. The firm's growth was highest in the Asian market, especially in Taiwan's domestic market, where sales doubled, and the strong sales have continued unabated this year.

In late March, the 2009 Taipei International Cycle Show opened at the Taiwan World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall. A total of 577 makers from Taiwan and 185 companies from 32 countries attended, making this year's event the largest in the 22 years of its existence. In fact, it is now the largest fair for this industry in all of Asia, and is considered one of the top three worldwide along with sister events in the US and Germany.

High-end, Made in Taiwan

At the center of the hall, one of the display areas has a huge flow of people constantly passing through; they are attracted by the sign declaring "Giant." In the space, a TCR Advanced SL LTD airlifted in from the European factory is like a magnet for public attention. It is a top road bike made for professional racing teams, priced at a cool NT$450,000.

Equipped with the latest Shimano Dura Ace Di2 electronic gearchange system, the TCR Advanced SL LTD not only replaces the traditional gear levers with pushbuttons, the server motor can provide faster and more accurate gear changes, which is what racing bikes need. Taiwan has been able to get only a limited quota (30) of these bikes.

Another bike getting lots of media attention was the Defy Advanced LTD. This is a road bike designed personally by Giant chairman King Liu for his 1,668-kilometer journey from Beijing to Shanghai. Based on his own physical condition at age 75, he chose a lightweight 3K carbon fiber frame and front fork, and ordered tailor-made parts from Japan's Shimano company. Though it costs a hefty NT$158,000, the whole bike weighs only 7.5 kilos; only 75 are available worldwide.

"Right now the main emphasis in R&D in the global bicycle market is on upgrading the performance of specific types of bikes, but the emphasis in the newest products from Giant is on creating bikes that are less specialized, that combine the best points of road bikes and mountain bikes," notes senior engineer Nixon Huang, who is in charge of product R&D.

Modern urban residents looking for a simpler, higher quality of life want to ride their bikes to the mountains and the sea. To deal with steep slopes they need bikes that are shock-resistant and comfortable, and that have very sound brakes and solid, durable components. But such bikes are unnecessarily laborious for flat roads. Some people deal with this problem by switching over to more streamlined bike frames, or even by buying a second bike for the road. But Giant also wants to satisfy those consumers who desire a single bike that fits all journeys, so at the Nangang exhibition Giant featured its new "Adventure" model. Three years in the making and unveiled in October of last year, this "crossover" bike combines the functions of mountain, road, and folding bikes: it has a low stepover height and good stability, is lightweight, is easily transported because of a special new folding design, and has a very modern and clean, sleek appearance. Trial sales (at NT$48,000) have already begun in Taiwan, after which it is expected to be exported to Japan and then to enter the international market.

Trail-blazing

At the booth, another "glitter" item was the Avail Diamond, whose body is encrusted with Swarovski crystal. Designed especially for women, it is rather pricey at NT$60-70,000, but at its debutante event it immediately became the object of an extraordinary number of inquiries from visitors.

In fact, beginning last year, with an eye to breaking into the women's market, Giant established Liv/giant, the first ever store in the world specializing in women's bikes, boasting vehicles that can meet the unique needs of women and are designed specifically for female body types. Not only that, Giant also came up with new bikes made specially for women of various social groups, which have successfully attracted the attention of people in categories like office workers, dating couples, and mothers.

"Create demand, meet demand." This is the underlying theme of the "Blue Ocean 2" strategy that Giant has been following in recent years, a strategy that places special emphasis on making the whole environment more cycling-friendly. Indeed, as early as 20 years ago King Liu sparked a company initiative to set up the Cycling Life-Style Foundation to promote bike riding in Taiwan, and the foundation has worked with governments at all levels to improve the overall domestic cycling environment. However, it has only been in the last few years that all the effort has finally begun to show visible results.

Specific programs have included the declaration of "Taiwan Cycling Month" (May), and "Bicycle Day" (May 5); the building of cycling paths and trails in many cities and counties, including coastal paths on the north, west, south, and east coasts, and many trails in mountain areas; and the creation of a "rent at point A, return at point B" service network. Unceasing effort, drop by drop, has finally resulted in an explosion of enthusiasm for recreational cycling in Taiwan.

"Bicycle Island"

Two years ago, King Liu cycled solo around Taiwan, and this year took the Beijing-to-Shanghai challenge, as part of his efforts to draw attention to the fun and health benefits of bike riding. This April, moreover, Giant entered into a cross-industry alliance with Mandarin Airlines to develop the market for domestic and overseas bicycle travel. One aspect of the alliance is that Mandarin recognizes mileage from cycling around Taiwan, which can be used to discount flight miles. Moreover, the two parties have organized cycling enterprises worldwide to create a wide variety of package itineraries so that riders from Taiwan can enjoy hassle-free international cycling.

Giant has also announced an investment of NT$10 million to create the Giant Adventure travel agency. The firm is initially targeting visitors to Taiwan, mainland China, and Japan, but in the future, through Giant's 2000 storefronts in Europe, the company will mount a publicity campaign portraying Taiwan as "Bicycle Island," hoping to create a win-win situation for the company and the domestic travel industry.

It is hard to imagine that this company, founded 37 years ago by nine investors who pooled NT$4 million, nearly went bankrupt in its first four years, partly because it lacked specialized technology and had no brand identity, and partly because it happened to open just in time to hit the global recession brought about by the energy crisis!

In those days, the never-say-die King Liu put to use his industrial-high-school education to upgrade the company's technology on his own, and, with long-term financial support from his sister and the addition to the team of CEO Antony Lo, they eventually landed a subcontract order to manufacture bikes for Schwinn, the biggest brand in the US. This finally provided Giant with a steady income from OEM.

OEM, the basis for ODM

Eight years later, Taiwan's bicycle exports surpassed 3 million units, and the island overtook Japan as the leading supplier of cycles to the world. By then Giant was already Taiwan's biggest bike assembly plant, second in Asia only to Bridgestone of Japan (then known as Ishibashi).

Taking "quality" as its core value, Giant held special events to reward outstanding suppliers and affiliated plants, and even to select a "Mr. and Miss Quality." At the daily level, the company instituted quality control circles, standard operating procedures, and a system for employees to suggest improvements in production processes. Giant also commissioned a Japanese management consulting company to dispatch advisors right to the factory, and adopted a Toyota-style floor management system (now christened the GPS, or Giant Production System). As a result, the process of assembling a bike, which formerly took 20 hours per unit, was cut to eight hours, and warehouse stockpiles were cut from 15 days to seven days. After 10 years of such efforts, annual production of bicycles at Giant reached 1.62 million units, setting a new Taiwan record for a single factory.

In the mid-1980s, Schwinn, Giant's most important client for many years (accounting for 75% of Giant's OEM production), began to look for new partners in mainland China. But this biggest crisis since the company's founding turned out to also be the turning point in the creation of Giant's own brand name. King Liu decided to separate out two markets, with Giant taking the path of high-quality items with high unit prices, and the company constructed a global distribution network.

In fact, even before that, Giant had already begun testing the waters for development of its own brand name. It adopted a policy of "Europe first, the US later," to avoid offending Schwinn and other US clients. When Schwinn moved its orders to mainland China, this was equivalent to loosening the shackles that had bound Giant. Thereafter, King Liu adopted an all-out international strategy of "global branding, local roots," and set up regional headquarters in the Netherlands and the US.

Global network

Currently, Giant's operating strategy calls for brand-name sales to account for 70% of revenues, with OEM accounting for the remaining 30%. Because of the extra cushion of profit margin provided by having one's own brand, the company has been able to thrive through the large appreciation of the NT dollar in the 1990s and the reform and opening-up of the mainland Chinese economy.

Discussing overall direction, King Liu stresses that even today Giant attaches as much importance to OEM as to its own brand name. He relates that the two core principles for company strategy are "top quality" and "differentiation." Each year the company invests 2% of revenues in R&D, and moreover is working congruently with the domestic bicycle industry's "3N" (3New) program-new materials, new functions, new uses. Giant aims to strengthen its own technical capabilities, to "create new value," and to continue with ever more innovative design, in order to consolidate the name recognition and reputation of the brand.

"Although the big companies in the US and Europe have brand names and distribution channels, most of them lack manufacturing and R&D capacity. Taiwan and mainland Chinese companies, on the other hand, have strong manufacturing abilities, but need to take it to the next level, especially in terms of management of operations on a global scale," explains King Liu.

To this end, Giant works to ensure that the different parts of its planet-wide manufacturing, distribution, and service network are integrated and mutually supportive. For example, the headquarters takes information collected at the three main R&D centers (in Europe, the US, and Taiwan) and, based on the comparative advantages of different locations in terms of wages, human resources, parts, and so on, assigns manufacturing to one of four different production bases. Moreover, the six regional marketing centers under the Giant flag, besides being responsible for sales and promotion, also immediately report the latest market intelligence, so that the production lines can quickly make adjustments.

Moreover, the company annually spends 8% of revenues on global marketing to promote the Giant brand name, and also sponsors world-class cycling teams and public service or cultural activities. Perhaps most importantly, Giant has generated great word-of-mouth advertising with programs like "buy in one place, get service anywhere in the world," a five-year guarantee on the bike frame, and product liability insurance (US$5 million for ordinary bikes, US$3 million on electric bikes).

Top of the heap

With the consolidation of China's status as "factory to the world," firms from around the globe have turned their eyes to the mainland, and the bike manufacturing industry there has made great leaps forward. Volume and value of bicycle exports from mainland China have exceeded Taiwan's since 2001, as the mainland has become the largest cycle manufacturing base on the planet. Giant has been a part of this process, and holds, along with Acer, President, and WantWant, one of the four Taiwanese-owned trademarks that get "priority protection" in the mainland.

King Liu relates that cost considerations made going to the mainland inevitable. In 1992, acting through their Singapore holding company, Giant set up a factory in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, to mainly make aluminum-alloy and high-carbon-steel mid- to low-priced mountain and urban bikes. Today Giant's annual production there is 2.5 million units, with half being exported and half sold in the domestic market.

In 1993, using its technology as its capital contribution, Giant entered into a joint venture with Shanghai's largest bike maker, Phoenix. They established the Giant & Phoenix Bicycle Co., which, producing bikes exclusively for children, has annual production volume of 1.3 million units. Last April a new factory in Tianjin came on line, giving Giant production centers in mainland China's northeast (Tianjin), east (Kunshan), and southwest (Chengdu), as the company has become China's single largest manufacturer of bicycles.

The A-Team

But Giant has not neglected its home base. In order to ensure that the roots of the bike industry would not also eventually leave Taiwan, in 2003 Giant got together with its competitor Merida and organized 11 firms, including other bicycle makers and cooperating firms in the up- and downstream sectors, to form the "A-Team." Companies that make parts can use a collective Internet platform to get advance figures on orders for the next two-month period, so they can prepare materials ahead of time, after which Giant and Merida issue daily orders with suppliers delivering finished products every day. This novel cooperative method has linked together the whole bike-making process in Taiwan from R&D to manufacturing, making Taiwan into a global supply center for high-end bikes.

Over the past five years, through cooperation within the A-Team and with help from the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan's entire bicycle industry has been able to utilize Giant's open Product Data Management platform to share advanced technology and the fruits of R&D. There are now more than 20 member firms in the A-Team, and major foreign makers like Shimano and Colnago have even become sponsoring members.

In Giant's global deployments, the main factory in Taiwan focuses on high-end bikes using carbon fiber, aluminum alloy, and shock-absorbing frames. Annual production is 800,000 units, of which more than 90% are sold abroad, with a share in the domestic market in Taiwan of over 25%. Giant is the number-one bicycle brand in Taiwan, and the third-largest brand in the US in terms of dedicated sales outlets. Giant is also the number-one source of bicycle imports into Australia, Japan, and Canada.

From manufacturing and marketing bicycles, selling peripheral goods, and establishing dedicated sales outlets, to providing rental services and establishing a travel agency, "Giant steps" have ensured that Taiwan's fame as the "bicycle kingdom" is still as deserved today as it has been for the last 20 years.

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