TMG Automotive: a national reference in the technical textile industry
“Realizing very early on that the way forward was to build competitive advantages that set them apart in an otherwise generic and traditional textile sector, TMG Automotive has developed unique capabilities in the technical textiles sector”, were the words of Rui Vinhas da Silva, president of COMPETE 2020, to describe the route of TMG Automotive, within the scope of COMPETE 2020: close to those who create value.
According to the president do COMPETE 2020, Rui Vinhas da Silva, “TMG Automotive is a national reference in technical textiles. Realizing very early on that the way forward was to build competitive advantages that set them apart in an otherwise generic and traditional textile sector. TMG Automotive has developed unique capabilities in the technical textiles sector. It therefore occupies a place of prominence in this sector, having through a clear commitment to innovation, developed customized solutions to market requirements that come from prestigious brands in B2B contexts. TMG Automotive has thus been able to supply renowned clients at a global scale.”
A Brief History of TMG Automotive
TMG Automotive is part of Grupo TMG whose origins date back to the decade of the thirties of the last century, in the town of Vila Nova de Famalicão. A result of the ideas of a visionary who had as his motto “technology hand in hand with innovation”, the group represents a Portuguese story of success, with a permanent commitment to innovation. One of the companies, TMG Automotive, that work in the automobile sector, is an example of this.
In 1937, putting into practice the vision of Manuel Gonçalves, the Fábrica da Fiação e Teçidos do Vale de Manuel Gonçalves was built in São Cosme do Vale (Vila Nova de Famalicão).
It was this project that gave rise to the Grupo TMG, which represents more than 75 years of success of a genuinely Portuguese undertaking. The factory was transformed in 1965 into a public limited company and from the decade of the 1970’s it would become the largest national textile factory. Isabel Furtado, administrator of the Grupo TMG, says that “since the beginning what orientates the group is the philosophy of its founder: “technology hand in hand with innovation”. Manuel Gonçalves’ granddaughter, Isabel Furtado considers that “this strategy has been a key-factor in the development of the group, through the continuous investment in people and in state of the art technology, sustaining thus a competitive capacity”. Initially concentrated in the textile industry, TMG initiated early on a process of diversification to other areas, amongst which are currently included sectors as diverse as the interiors of cars (TMG Automotive), retail and distribution sports clothing (Lightning Bolt), air transport, (HeliPortugal), systems and solutions for energy, engineering, environment and transport (Efacec), production and distribution of wine (Caves Transmontanas and Casa de Compostela), the production of energy though cogeneration and hydroelectric power and still a participation in the financial area. Maintaining its private and family character, the group is today one of the great national export agents, constituting, as Isabel Furtado points out, “a symbol of Portuguese industry and know-how”.
The Grupo TMG, excluding its affiliates, has 970 collaborators. In the case of TMG Automotive, there are about 300 people, of which 30 are directly responsible for R&D and Innovation activities. TMG Automotive has exercised its activity for more than 30 years, from a productive unit of Campelos, on the outskirts of Guimarães.
One example of how TMG Automotive values innovation was its participation in the pioneering group of certification of the System of Management of Innovation, Development and Innovation by the NP 4457:2007.
(Source – Revista Espaço – February 2013)
COMPETE 2020: close to those that create value
On the 18th of November 2015, the president of COMPETE 2020 Rui Vinhas da Silva, initiated a two day visit to companies of the clothing, confection and fashion sectors.
By nature it is an exporting sector which experienced in 2014 a growth in exports of 9,5% (data from ANIVEC). From 2009 to 2014, these sectors grew theirs sales to external markets by 29%.
Within the textile sector exports of clothing and confection represented 60,2% of the total exported in 2014, and contributed to the trade balance with a surplus of 967 million euros.
This visit is integrated in an extended set of visits to the exporting sectors of the Portuguese economy. By identifying the set of critical factors for economic growth related to exportation, acting in a consistent and systematic way on this variable by adding value to tradable goods, committing to incorporate innovation, applied knowledge and marketing, listing what is necessary to do to remove the structural and behavioral barriers to direct external investment, will make it possible to create the conditions for sustained economic growth in Portugal via competitiveness and exports, all of which concretizes the great objective of the COMPETE 2020 programme.
According to Rui Vinhas da Silva, president of COMPETE 2020, the visits to some of the companies of the sector within the scope of the initiative “COMPETE 2020: close to those who create value”, showed that the textile sector, that went through severe problems with the opening of the European markets to China and the 2008 crisis, were able to reinvent themselves acquiring sustainable competitive advantages for the companies, anchored in tangible differentiation (sophisticated processes and products) and improving the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy.