MACS interviews General Sales Manager Mike Rouse at Sanden International America

Mike Rouse of Sanden International in Wylie, Texas, has been a member of MACS since he joined Sanden in 1985. Currently, Mike is general manager OEM and aftermarket sales. His career with Sanden began when he stopped by the company on his way to join the United States Air
Force. Mike never made it to the recruiting office! He started a job at Sanden the next day, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sanden, founded in 1943, was first established as Sankyo Electric Company by Kaihei Ushikubo as a manufacturer of bicycle lamps that used a distinctive owl trademark. In 1970, Sankyo entered into a technical alliance with Mitchell Corporation, and began producing compressors for passenger cars, which led to the company’s progress into the automotive market. The company subsequently became known as Sanden.

Today, Sanden is a $3.1 billion international corporation with 17,000 employees worldwide, which holds a 25% global compressor market share. Sanden is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and service supplier to many global OEM heavy duty truck and off-road manufacturers, such as PACCAR, Volvo, DTNA, CNH, CAT, VCE, JCB and many more.

We asked Mike a series of questions concerning his point of view as an industry veteran. The following is our exchange:

MACS: What is the one thing you wish every customer knew about your business?
Mike: “Sanden is synonymous with quality, and just because a copied product looks like a Sanden product, it’s not a quality Sanden product. We have had so many customers blame Sanden for quality issues only to discover it’s an off-brand copy of our product.”
MACS: Do you have any concerns about changes that may require vehicles using different refrigerants?
Mike: “Sanden has no concerns as our R&D and engineers are well-prepared for whatever challenges the refrigerant industry throws out. Sanden ensures that field techs are trained and vigilant in their understanding of mixing certain refrigerants and oils and the detrimental effect this may have on the system performance or components.”
MACS: What’s your biggest business challenge in 2020?
Mike: “Speaking for the aftermarket side, it’s planning and forecasting by part, not only for the month but for the next year, the next three and five years. This process can be mind boggling. Getting it right is quite the task no matter how much history and analytical data you use. Customers only want to hear two answers when they call for a part. Yes, it’s in stock and here is your tracking number.”
MACS: When you have been in business for many years,  you sometimes encounter unusual or amusing product requests. Have you experienced any odd customer requests?
Mike: “We once had a request from an aviation company about the armor piercing rating of our compressor. It was being used on a crop duster that sprayed illegal crops and was often shot at.”
MACS: What is the one piece of advice you’d offer to your industry peers?
Mike: “Always make a friend first. Your friendship will last longer than any business relationship.”
MACS: How does MACS membership help you run your business?
Mike: “Networking and industry information are essential in staying relevant, launching the right product and keeping the proper product on the shelf. MACS provides that platform to help me make the best business decisions to be successful at Sanden. MACS also gives me the opportunity, every year, to see old friends and make new ones, as well as learning a thing or two through your incredible training sessions.”
MACS: What is the one tool you couldn’t run your business without?
Mike: “My customer service team. They are the greatest! Shout out to Shannon, Zoraya, Lori, Maciel, Lilia and Jessica.”

Be sure to meet Mike and the whole Sanden crew at the Sanden booth #215 at MACS 2020 Training Event and Trade Show in Nashville, TN, on Friday, February 21. Mike will also be presenting a training class, “Oil and Compressor Lubrication,” on Saturday, February 22.