Finding the right supplier together with Kloepfel
The pandemic presented many companies with major challenges. At the beginning, many of our customers did not know how severe the impact of the Corona pandemic would be on business activities. As 2020 progressed, many companies adapted to the framework. Issues such as security of supply, supplier and risk management, and also production capacity were high on the agenda. Some companies were even able to profit from the situation, as evidenced by considerably filled order books – among others in the wood processing industry. Consumers invested in their homes and property, resulting in strong demand for housing construction and kitchen and home furniture. Producing furniture manufacturers asked massively for woodworking machines. One of our valued customers was able to participate in this.
The demand for woodworking machines increased rapidly. Our customer’s own capacities were exhausted due to the high workload in assembly. As a result, he began to consider the topic of “extended workbench”, or “additional capacities”. In this sense, we as Kloepfel Consulting were assigned to support him and to conduct a market analysis. The customer was faced with the decision to either increase his own staff and invest in his own control cabinet production or to outsource the excess capacity to external companies. Up to now, only “order peaks” had been outsourced to external control cabinet manufacturers as an extended workbench.
What challenges arose and how they were solved
Our customer initially faced immense challenges. The increase in demand meant that purchasing now also came under increased scrutiny. Procuring materials was not easy in the environment, and major manufacturers had problems supplying electrical materials, among other things. The coordination between purchasing and assembly took on a whole new dimension. Purchasing took on a central and important role at the time and the workload increased greatly.
The order in detail
The specific customer order was to carry out a market analysis with an accompanying recommendation for action. The first objective was to look at the current market situation, whereby a broad market inquiry and analysis was carried out. Furthermore, an identification of efficient switch cabinet manufacturers was to be carried out. Also on the agenda was the relief of the purchasing department through external procurement and increased support for the company’s own production and assembly in the event of an increasing order situation. In addition, productivity was to be increased in order to further increase the required output volume to meet rising customer demand. Based on the combination of expert and market knowledge from past projects as well as the supplier network, which covers most countries, Kloepfel Consulting was able to support the customer professionally.
First of all, the general conditions were defined together with the customer. The analysis should specifically answer the question whether production capacities for external switch cabinet construction are available on the market. In this sense, switchgear cabinet types were defined that the customer wanted to purchase externally in order to relieve his own capacities.
Supplier catalog as selection medium
For the market analysis, drawings, pictures, material parts lists, and specifications of the 5 control cabinets to be requested were compiled in cooperation with the customer. Kloepfel created a pool of potentially suitable suppliers that would best meet the customer’s requirements in terms of quality, technical reliability and delivery reliability. The potential new suppliers and the existing suppliers were combined into a concrete supplier list and finally coordinated. A criteria catalog was drawn up together with the purchasing and assembly departments.
For this purpose, more than 50 criteria, requirements and “soft” factors were compiled, including a prioritization, which are decisive for the customer when selecting an external control cabinet manufacturer – in addition to the conditions.
Finally, the question still had to be clarified as to how high the degree of relief in the company’s own assembly and thus the required quantities of control cabinets from external procurement should be.
Kloepfel’s support throughout the inquiry process
After clarification of all requirements and general conditions, inquiries – including documentation – were made available digitally to more than 25 nationally, as well as internationally, located switchgear cabinet manufacturers. Kloepfel Consulting provided support throughout the entire inquiry process. Here, the queries of the control cabinet builders were summarized into concrete question catalogs. The inquiry could thus be sharpened very efficiently. The inquiry process including the preparation of the quotation took about 4 weeks. With the quotation mirror created by Kloepfel and the evaluation overview summarizing the criteria and requirements, a decision was made together with the customer as to which control cabinet builders should be interacted with further.
Supplier day in digital format
A very efficient instrument for this is the supplier day. This is very often held by Kloepfel to strategically discuss a specific topic (also within a product group) with the selected suppliers. In addition, the company is presented and the expectations for future cooperation are outlined. This provides a central platform for exchange.
Due to corona-related restrictions (travel and contact limitations), Kloepfel was very flexible here and planned and executed the supplier day digitally. This way of execution (here via Microsoft TEAMS) was very efficient for all participants. During the one-week preparation period, Kloepfel was in charge of preparing a presentation and its contents together with the customer. In the run-up concrete questions and topics were discussed with the 7 participating panel builders and already discussed with the customer. An opportunity was created to present oneself to a broad market and to discuss topics and questions in a very professional setting. This convinced beyond the purchase the management and the assembly of the customer. Such a meeting was not known before.
The digital supplier day was divided into the following agenda (exemplary):
- Welcome & introduction
- Introduction of all participants
- Customer introduction
- Results of the market analysis
- Announcement of expectations for future cooperation
- Question and answer session
- Outlook on the further procedure
Final evaluation of the supplier day
The two-hour event was a complete success. The requirements and the mutual expectations for the cooperation were finally specified. The control cabinet manufacturers were able to refine and finalize their offers in the follow-up.
Finally, the market analysis that was carried out led to the customer being able to secure rare free market capacities on the one hand. On the other hand, a partial relocation of production quantities to external control cabinet builders significantly relieved the assembly, but also the purchasing department.
We are very pleased to be able to provide the customer with comprehensive and strategic support here.
Tel.: 0211 941 984 33
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