Gentex Corp. leads all automotive suppliers when it comes to leveraging so-called “intangible” or non-physical assets most effectively, says Randy J. Miller, Global Automotive Partner, Arthur Andersen.

Mr. Miller says the latest “Automotive Best Practices Forum” survey shows Gentex is adept at focusing on “value creation” with a heavy reliance on customer, employee and supplier or organizational assets rather than physical goods. This is reflected in the supplier’s high market to book value of 5.28, Mr. Miller says, as compared to the average market to book value for suppliers of 1.70. Other leading suppliers include Delphi Automotive Systems Corp.(2.85), Superior Industries International Inc. (2.73), Johnson Controls Inc. (2.45) and American Axle & Mfg. Inc. (2.40). Federal-Mogul Inc. had the lowest market-to-book value of 0.08.

Mr. Miller says Gentex’s secret to success is its strong customer-focused approach. The company couples its customer and engineering groups together into focus teams and every employee, no matter what their position, is graded on how well they address customer satisfaction issues as well as their job efficiency and attitude toward teamwork. The supplier has an extremely low employee turnover rate of just 3%. Gentex also considers supplier collaboration a key ingredient to success, Mr. Miller says. Gentex’s suppliers are evaluated initially by seven internal “experts” and participate in monthly development meetings and technology fairs.