John Cochrane: The third-generation entrepreneur spearheading the future of smart technology in advanced manufacturing

John Cochrane

John Cochrane, General Manager, Facteon Group

There is a popular notion that a business house starts wearing thin by the time it reaches the hands of its third generation. It becomes most challenging for the third successor to deal with the dilemmas and break free of the so-called “third-generation curse” in business. 

However, John Cochrane, the managing director of Facteon Intelligent Technology has been able to diffuse this age-old myth with all his vehemence and proved his mettle as the trendsetter in his third-generation business of advanced manufacturing. John’s stoic determination and relentless passion galvanized him to embrace challenges, break barriers, push boundaries, and achieve greater heights.

John considers himself fortunate enough to carry the legacy of entrepreneurship built by his ancestors since the time they founded their own business house serving B2B clients in 1969.  Cherishing his entrepreneurial journey throughout, John admits, “…being an entrepreneur is part of my DNA, I have grown up in this environment and mindset, and I probably could not work any other way.” From his story, it becomes evident that John loved to assume the roles of his father and grandfather while pursuing his entrepreneurial dream. 

As a third-generation entrepreneur, not only did he uphold the values instilled within him by his forefathers, but also as the Managing Director of Facteon, John is able to lead by example while drawing strength from his rich heritage.  His long association with large and small enterprises for 40 years, and 7 years in the public sector have equipped him with the forte of handling customers. As a new-age entrepreneur, John Cochrane appreciates emerging technology as the key to modern entrepreneurship. Thus, he incorporates genuine innovation in policies and products that carry the value of trust and commitment steeped in tradition. This he believes helps in nurturing old customers and creating new customer values, which in turn strengthens the brand value.

Overthrowing challenges

Facteon Intelligent Technology was initially set up in 1981, as an internal advanced engineering division of one of Australasia’s most reputed companies. 

In 2017, it separated itself as a spinout concern and it was not an easy task to establish itself as an independent entity trying to make an impact in new industries. FIT has to funnel its energy and resources into securing new customers whom they had to convince with the brand values and high quality of services. Nevertheless, the journey became easier under the aegis of John Cochrane who joined FIT as the Sales Director in 2018. His utmost sincerity and devotion to service promoted him to the office of Group General Manager one year later. Since then and until Covid hit hard the world in 2020, Facteon witnessed a period of robust growth and perennial success. 

However difficult the situation may be, a good businessperson knows how to sail through every situation. Thus, unable to meet his clients abroad due to the pandemic, John postponed his plans with overseas clients and focused primarily on essential services catering to domestic consumers. 

Company profile

In 1981, Facteon Intelligent Technology came under Fisher & Paykel Appliances (FPA) as their in-house engineering resource that served their purpose of a highly flexible, multi-model manufacturing production unit, capable of providing bespoke factory machinery, which FPA could not procure from any other source. Over the years, Facteon came to the frontline as a comprehensive manufacturing unit capable of adding value to machines with its excellent factory automation solutions in advanced manufacturing, applications, assembling, and designing.

Its burgeoning success in recent years under the deft leadership of John Cochrane associated it with the prestigious Haier Group in China, who owned them as their in-house resource. Under his proficient mentorship, Facteon been able to bag the Haier Golden Banyan Award for 2021. In the present scenario, Facteon is dexterously handling its two-way responsibility as a nimble and swift SME and as an internal production team of a fastgrowing company. 

Talking about the company’s USP, John candidly comes out with the fact that, unlike other industries, Facteon being an advanced manufacturing team, never follows any prototype or standard. Every day they have to experiment and innovate new designs and technology that could be engineered into making coarse-grained models, thereby meeting the discerning needs of customers. Currently, Facteon is supplying machinery to Home Appliance Manufacturers, Office Furniture Manufacturers, Medical Device Manufacturers, Construction Hardware Manufacturers, Food-grade Container Manufacturers, and so on.

Why He matters

A dedicated game-changer with clear intention and focus, John Cochrane never hesitates to call himself a student. He is always driven by his inquisitiveness and curiosity to learn new things, and explore new horizons. For him, it is only through learning one can grow and bring viable changes, which can make a sustainable difference. Being a business aficionado, John strongly believes in riding the waves of change and strongly denounces the idea of binding oneself within a status quo. For him, stasis is a curse in life as it breeds atrophy and reluctance to change. 

John’s high ideals and vision that mostly revolve around human-centric thoughts are very much inspiring. He talks about creating high-value employment for his workers that could ensure growth and learning opportunities for them. For this benevolent leader, business is a pious act of leading your followers to the right path of life, taking care of their holistic growth, and maintaining overall harmony among the workers.  Therefore, at Facteon, every member is treated with love, respect, and dignity. Creating a good office environment, healthy work-life balance, and progressive work culture, where members can learn and grow, justify the role of a true leader, and this is where He matters the most.

Culture fostering human resources

The culture at Facteon cultivates human resources by underpinning the values endorsed by its entrepreneur. “Inquisitiveness” is the single word that defines the in-house spirit of the company. John trains his workers to be always on the learning mode, adaptive, and innovative, which are the major prerequisites of a dynamic business like advanced manufacturing. The entrepreneur straightway rejects the scope of trial and error in their business, which demands one-off perfection at every stage. In his words, “We are problem solvers. No two projects are identical. Furthermore, there is no option to prototype and then produce.” He highlights the most crucial segment of this business, “We don’t have the luxury of a minimum viable product (MVP), or to throw away that first waffle or pancake, as the saying goes.” Being the leader of a client-centric organization, John relies greatly on customer relationships that he has built on the pillars of integrity, good work, and trust. This further helps him to co-create with his customers, who eventually become the stakeholders of the company.

The way forward and message to the budding leaders

For an astute entrepreneur like John Cochrane consistency is the key to success. Inspired by the Disney CEO Bob Iger’s book on Ride of a Lifetime, John, with all his earnestness wants to continue his job of unleashing possibilities at Facteon, for the longest span of his life. With a series of projects in the pipeline, the entrepreneur is much delighted to establish an in-country presence in the USA and Mexico. However, currently, he plans to move forward with his 2020 project with foreign clients.

While sharing his pearl of wisdom with the aspiring entrepreneurs, John advises them to “Find and bond with a mentor!”  He insists youngsters to associate with the people who can enrich their lives, and add values to their journey. At the same time, he advocates the value of reciprocating our mentor. A quote from Seneca substantiates his ideas of returning values, “Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: We learn as we teach”, concludes the leader.