NOVI, MI – Interior supplier Yanfeng Automotive unveiled its new Southeast Michigan headquarters and technical center here Sept. 28 with the help of state and local dignitaries.

The $8.5 million, 93,000-sq.-ft. (8,640-sq.-m) facility houses 350 employees involved in finance, purchasing, sales and engineering who have been relocated from former Johnson Controls offices in Plymouth and Harrison Township, MI. YFAI says it will add 65 more employees in coming months.

Nathan Bowen, vice president and general manager-Americas, says the new headquarters is designed to provide employees a world-class collaborative work space on three floors and helps complete the integration of Yanfeng and the JCI interior components business. The two were merged in a joint venture in 2015.

The previous JCI facilities isolated the workforce in honeycombs of cubes and private executive offices that stifled interaction. The new building was completely renovated to create an open floorplan that encourages engagement and communication, Bowen says.

The renovation also opened up the ceiling and exposed beams and air ducts, further enhancing the airy atmosphere. The ceiling is coated with sound-absorbing material that minimizes noise. While almost everyone sits at open desks, there are numerous soundproof rooms to allow private conversations and conference calls. Work areas are designed on an angle so coworkers do not directly face each other.

There also is a large kitchen and cafeteria designed to encourage people to interact.

It took a crew of 60 construction workers 45 days to gut the old building, a former health-care facility, and prepare for the new construction, the company says.

The new headquarters will be involved with many Yanfeng components, but it will be the center for instrument panel engineering and testing, Bowen says.

YFAI exemplifies how complex the global automotive supply chain has become. Headquartered in Shanghai, it develops and produces interior parts for virtually all automakers around the world. It has about 100 manufacturing plants and technical centers in 18 countries and more than 30,000 employees.

YFAI is part of a joint venture with Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huayu Automotive Systems and Adient, the automotive seating company recently spun off from JCI. HASCO is the component group of SAIC Motor, one of the largest automakers in China and the world.

dwinter@wardsauto.com