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Jegan, the workers' SME that manufactures high-security parts for the automotive industry

Jegan, the workers' SME that manufactures high-security parts for the automotive industry

The company from Gipuzkoa, which has received aid from the SPRI Group's industrial cybersecurity programme, is looking to grow in the Spanish market.

Jegan is a company located in the Gipuzkoa town of Itziar, managed by 40 of its 64 workers as partners, which manufactures high security parts for the automotive industry as its main business. The company, which is highly internationalised, is looking for the opposite of many companies: to grow more in Spain. It has received aid from the industrial cybersecurity programme of the SPRI Group, which for the last three years has had the Basque Cybersecurity Centre (BCSC) as a promoter of the Basque cybersecurity ecosystem and therefore also of this economic support programme.

The company originated in 1972 under the name of Juan Egaña, in the town of Mutriku in the province of Gipuzkoa. At that time it was dedicated to the manufacture of advertising items such as key rings and pins. In 1991, it folded and the workers took over the company, with a new name, Jegan SAL, and a new activity, the manufacture of parts for the automotive sector.

"Initially we were in Eibar and in 1995 we moved to Itziar due to space requirements. We kept the plant in Eibar, leaving the electrolytic baths there, and in Itziar, the foundry", explained Gorka Aizpitarte, general manager; Elisa Azkarate, finance manager; Kepa Ibarzabal, plant manager, and Koldo Sánchez, IT manager.

Jegan has continued to grow, with two extensions to its facilities in recent decades, and the extension to other sectors.

Full customer service

The company offers a full service to its customers. "They come to us with plans to make exclusive parts. We carry out the feasibility study with the documentation provided, and in close collaboration with the customer we create a framework which, once approved, is ready for launch and production". They manufacture parts that are not visible to the user, such as components in active and passive safety elements ranging from seat belts to ADAS cameras. These are high-safety parts. Its customers are mainly large automotive groups, which account for 65% of its turnover.

The workforce is made up of 64 people, 40 of whom are partners - "none of them has more than 5% of the shares" - and turnover this year will exceed 14 million euros. R&D is key for Jegan and is present in "any project that comes to us, the R&D team works to get it off the ground at the lowest possible cost. Customers measure us by service and easy access because we are a small company, but also by cost and the carbon footprint we leave behind. Every project that comes to us is R&D. They compete with Swedish or German multinationals, which "have plants in China or Mexico and a turnover of more than 100 million euros a year".

While a large number of Basque companies seek to grow through internationalisation, Jegan aims for the exact opposite: to extend their sales in Spain. "It is not logical that 90% of our customers are abroad. We are working along these lines of growing in the national market by looking for different sectors and products".

The help from the SPRI Group's industrial cybersecurity programme has been earmarked for network segmentation and securitisation, with the aim of controlling data traffic and establishing differentiated permissions for access to its networks, which is one of the problems faced by Industry 4.0.  "In the automotive industry, we are constantly being audited and they are very sensitive to everything that comes in, such as the information that is shared. And in our case, we work on safety parts". The project supported by SPRI has already been developed and is underway.

The future challenges are to specialise in high security parts and business diversification. "We want to remain at the forefront in the automotive sector, but we want to look for other sectors to continue growing".

They will also continue with their plan to involve people. "At the end of the day, we are a social enterprise and we try to keep our employees with us. This has a positive impact on people's involvement. The board of directors is made up of members of the company and the information is open. We are the owners and the employees end up joining as partners.

Original news story here.