Terugblik Nederland als Partnerland in 2014. Wirtschafsreport in gesprek met Marco Siebert, directeur Internationale betrekkingen Hannover Messe.
Exclusief interview met Marc Siemering over Hannover Messe 2016.
The role of the customer in Industry 4.0
Knowing your customers inside out: wholesaler Jeveka from Almere, the Netherlands, specialises in high-quality fasteners and tools. “In addition to internal processes, we invest heavily in customer relations”, says Managing Director Stephanie Veltkamp. The company likes to contribute ideas and develop solutions for customers’ challenges right from the beginning. Jeveka wants to highlight this customer focus at Hannover Messe – as well as its high-quality product portfolio.
What does it mean for Jeveka to have close relationships with its customers? “It sounds obvious at first, but it has a strategic dimension for us. We want to know our customers inside out and want to know what they will need in the future, what makes them tick and where they need support”, the Managing Director continues. In today’s fast-paced environment, this is what sets the company apart from the competition. “Industry 4.0, digitalisation, automation, time-to-market – based on these buzzwords, you would be forgiven for thinking that customers no longer play a role.” And this is where Jeveka is bucking the trend. “We have control of our own processes, and they help us to ensure that we support our customers and supply them as best we can. However, it is crucial that we know everything about them.”
In order to achieve that goal, employees want to be able to contribute ideas for meeting all their customers’ challenges right from the beginning. So what does that look like in practice? “Our products are just a small piece of the puzzle in our customers’ purchasing processes. As such, the buyers cannot afford to spend too much time on them. For us, this means that we need to make their lives’ easier and supply the appropriate fasteners the first time around. And that can only happen if we know right from the start what the products are needed for, and what applications they will be used in, etc.”, says Stephanie Veltkamp. That’s why our consultants offer to get involved by contributing ideas regarding new products at the design phase – even if it just means being useful sparring partners during brainstorming sessions.
There is also another reason why customers make good use of the Jeveka team’s expertise: “Our elements are definitely crucial but probably not the most exciting part of a new product. Therefore we often find that the buyers that we deal with are junior buyers. These young professionals naturally don’t have the same experience as long-serving employees, which often means that they need extra advice from us which we are more than happy to provide. This forms the basis for a long-term relationship of trust.”
Customers’ requirements are as diverse and varied as the sectors in which they operate. Thanks to the close relationship between customers and consultants, the Jeveka specialists are also aware of their customers’ basic needs. “For some customers, the most important criterion is the timely delivery of products.” In order to fulfil that requirement, Jeveka has set up extensive stocks, some of which are specific to individual customers. “In some cases, we know what customers have ordered from us better than they do.” Product quality is important to all customers. “That’s why we only sell high-quality branded goods. We don’t compete with cheap products from Asia”, the Managing Director points out.
Customers with key accounts at Jeveka have specific contacts at the company plus internal back-ups. “We are not interested in quick sales but prefer to think long term.” In order to implement this strategy, the employees spend several months a year offsite visiting customers. “We want to find out where we can make improvements, what is coming up in the future and what we should be gearing up for.”
In Germany, Jeveka focuses on sales for three brands: Unbrako (reliable hexagon socket screws), Kato (tangless inserts) and fasteners for vacuums, all available from stock. The company has been very active in this part of the world for five years. “This will be the company’s third year at Hannover Messe.” This is another step towards securing a foothold in the German market, and will enable consultants to get to know their German customers better…
Jeveka has been specialising in fasteners and tools for over 75 years. The family-run company moved its headquarters from Amsterdam to Almere in 2014. The independent wholesaler’s portfolio includes approximately 70,000 products.
Hall 4, Niederländische Gemeinschaftstand