Lead time in assembly: “Be as flexible as your customer”

Lead time in assembly: “Be as flexible as your customer”

“Our assembly customers want to be flexible, so they demand flexibility from us. That is the game we play, and it goes well.”

Toon Vercammen is Account Manager at Multifix Assembly, he is proud of the way they have organized their work: “Customers regularly send delivery performance and quality performance overviews, we always score well within the margin. Of course things sometimes go wrong, but we always solve it.”

Do you have an example?

“Our customer ThyssenKrupp requires a maximum delivery time of five working days from us for their stairlift chairs and installation boxes, we do the assembly for them. Every month we receive a rolling forecast from them for the next 13 months, of which the first 6 months are a guaranteed purchase. They may still change details over that period of course.”

“We always determine our minimum and maximum stock, of both end products and underlying components, on the basis of Thyssenkrupp’s forecast; the “min / max”. When something changes in the forecast, we consider whether we should respond to this by adjusting our stocks. With urgent orders, the customer can of course deviate from the forecast, which is why we have also set up an extra ‘min / max’ on the purchasing side. It differs per component, for parts with longer delivery times you will have to set a higher ‘min / max’. ”

And it all goes well?

“We hardly ever get stuck, everything depends on good stock management. We learned from experience that we have to maintain a minimum stock of end product for about 3 weeks of the monthly requirement of ThyssenKrupp, in order to never run into problems. Incidentally, we can hold ThyssenKrupp accountable for deviations from their forecast, sometimes we are of course not able to realize those extra orders that quickly.”

“We supply ThyssenKrupp stairlift chairs accompanied by kits; collection boxes with components with which the mechanics can install the chairs themselves at the consumer. They are distributed worldwide by ThyssenKrupp, from Europe to America and even Japan. The boxes are no longer checked by them, they learnt from experience that it is always correct. Our exit check is their entry check.”

Where do you assemble?

“Assembly is currently taking place in Bergeijk in our new location, in Geldrop we had grown too large. We have chosen the building for growth, we want to offer customers the whole picture: mechatronic assemblies. We started out with wire harnesses, but we want to make not just the ‘lace’ for the customer but the entire shoe. We can make anything from metal, plastic, electronics and specials. Also nuts and bolts of course, that’s what Multifix started with.”

“Our customers have to keep up with their market developments, they expect the same flexibility from us. This requires constant monitoring to properly organize matters logistically. You have a lot of freedom in this, but you have to be accountable for decisions you make, for example about the stock.”

Customers value that service?

“We hear from customers that we assemble relatively quick, even from customers who ask for a lot of customization. Of course they occasionally look at competitors, but apparently there is no one who can deliver customization so quickly in combination with competitive prices. Our customers are honest about their experiences with other parties, because the relationship is very good.”

“I have been with Multifix for 3.5 years now, I originally came from purchasing and ‘rolled’ to the sales side during the recession in 2008. That suited me well, although I don’t see myself as a ‘hard’ salesman with only an eye for cold numbers, but more as a relationship manager. I like to create a mutual relationship of trust with the customer, in order to establish a long-term and stable relationship.”

“As an Account Manager I also like to take a look at production and logistics, even though that is not expected of me. However, I want to make sure it’s good.”

“This job is exactly what I aspired, I hope to get my retirement at Multifix. I now also live in the area, so I CAN go to work on a bike. Do you write that down, that I CAN?”

Would you like more information about the possibilities of assembly? Click here.