In “Aptiv Becoming a More Sustainable Business” in our Spring issue, the President and CEO of Aptiv presents and then discusses his progress in carrying out his “long-term plan” to transform an automotive parts supplier that was once part of General Motors into a “global technology company.” The company’s mission is to maintain and strengthen its current position as “a partner of choice” of the world’s largest automakers in designing and manufacturing “the brain and the nervous system of the vehicle”—and in so doing, to make vehicle transportation “safer, greener, and more connected.”
With 15 major tech centers and 126 manufacturing sites spread across 44 countries, and with over 160,000 employees, including 18,600 engineers and scientists, the company has the scale and resources to carry out that mission. And attesting to the resilience of its business model, in 2018, a year in which the global number of cars sold actually went down, the company increased its revenue by 10% and its operating cash flow by 50%.
In the area of safety, the company is helping its customers build vehicles that move the industry closer to its goal of zero traffic fatalities and accidents by delivering the building blocks of active safety systems—which include perception and vision systems, and the high-speed and high-reliability networks that connect them. (And promising even greater gains in safety, the company’s advances in fully automated vehicles are helping make self-driving cars a reality.) In terms of green initiatives, the company is focused on minimizing the vehicles’ “total lifecycle impact on the environment” by providing the high-voltage distribution and connection systems for electric cars, while also using “smarter” vehicle architectures to achieve significant reductions in weight and mass. Finally, the company is helping the industry incorporate the increased connectivity that aims to provide a seamless integration between the passenger, the vehicle, and the Internet of Things.
The company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility goes well beyond its products and solutions. As an important part of its disciplined approach to creating sustainable long-term value for its shareholders, the company tracks a range of key performance indicators designed to ensure that “we devote the right amount of time and attention to each of our key stakeholders.” Along with its stakeholder programs and ongoing investment in human capital, which have helped the company win the designation “one of the world’s most ethical companies” in seven consecutive years, the CEO also cites the important roles played by its highly collaborative and engaged board of directors, and by a long-term incentive pay plan for its senior management team that, along with standard financial measures, uses a “strategic results modifier” that reflects the company’s success in meeting “non-financial goals that are related to talent, culture, and product quality.”