Cover story . The transfluid®-strategy for unique solutions
Every vision starts with a mental journey, every success with the execution of a plan. In 1988, the time had come for change and new solutions and thus transfluid® was founded.
transfluid®’s first priority has from the beginning been to fine-tune tube processing machines to meet the needs of customers and develop and manufacture market-oriented products. In doing so, we ensure that our solutions guarantee maximum added value to the customer.
transfluid®’s powerful designs have always led to superior solutions. We have therefore, since the early days, left the manufacturing of machine parts in the hands of competent suppliers. Choosing the right suppliers is an art in which transfluid® excels and our customers benefit from this. Our suppliers manufacture high-quality machine parts and make them available for timely production. This allows us to manufacture customized machines of exceptional quality.
The competent suppliers with whom we have been working for many years have become reliable partners.
Right from the start, we have followed just one sequence of criteria in choosing suppliers: quality, delivery capacity and price. Today we still select according to these criteria. Over the years we have thus developed long-term partnerships with several suppliers.
“From time to time competitors claim that our parts are being produced in low-wage countries. One can condone these claims, since the competition cannot find any technical arguments for their products and are thus forced to resort to this kind of argument. Maybe they just lack the understanding needed to think of possibilities and stop using old thought structures”, says Gerd Nöker, co-founder and Managing Director of transfluid®.
As a matter of fact, 99% of the parts that the company uses are from suppliers situated within a 100 km radius of the Schmallenberg site. Nöker is proud of transfluid®’s loyalty to its reliable suppliers: “We don’t change suppliers as soon as we receive cheaper offers. We expect quality and are willing to pay for it. This benefits our customers.“
To keep supply relationships running smoothly, internal management- and control mechanisms were put in place. These mechanisms were consistently implemented and optimized. Now the company uses modern software for networking, both internally, and externally with suppliers. In this way we can guarantee optimal management and supervision of machine production to our customers. This concept is unique to transfluid®.
18 engineers and IT-specialists on the transfluid® team are jointly responsible for this success. Each and every one of them is capable of constructing every single machine in the portfolio, including the special machines.
The constructing engineer supervises the machinery until it is delivered. During this time he/she also acts as the product manager in the workshop and gives constructive advice to team leaders. This relatively flat hierarchy has two crucial advantages: short distances make for an equally short reaction time. It was for this reason that the Schmallenberg enterprise moved away from traditional structures long ago. Traditional roles such as chief engineer, Supervisior and foreman no longer exist at transfluid®.
“We didn’t know whether it would work, but we had to change something in order to make improvements. We are a team, we work for a brand name and our goal is to deliver solutions.” Nöker reckons that transfluid®’s strengths lie in the fact that, ”Our employers are our customers.”
Less is more. This is especially true for production. After designing the machinery, we first look at purchasing the components. When purchasing, we divide the production of the required parts among various suppliers according to what they are able to achieve and their workload capacities. At this stage transfluid® takes care to ensure that all the parts required for a machine can be supplied. At this point in time, the parts list is therefore already complete.
Thanks to this production flow, the customer receives 100% flawless documentation of the process. Even the smallest part is purchased and therefore has to be designed and sketched.
The purchasing of parts has a key role in the production process. Shortly before production, the purchasing department must order the parts from suppliers that are able to meet the required quality standards. The components are delivered within a narrow timeframe to assembly, in accordance with the just-in-time delivery principle. Here it is important that parts are ordered in the sequence in which they will be needed for production.
The systematic and strategic solution when it comes to pipes.
Since no supplier delivers complete sets of components, transfluid® makes a logistical tour de force to put the production process in motion. This forms an important part of the company’s strategy. No one outside the company knows what the different parts are being used for or who the customer is. Therefore it is impossible for someone to reconstruct a complete unit.
The primary principle behind this production process is that all the different divisions: mechanical, electrical, tools and software – are bundled under one roof at transfluid®. Soon after delivery, all incoming stock undergoes a stringent quality control in the ISO-certified company. Missing or defective parts are immediately detected and claims sent to the supplier concerned. Once all the individual parts are available, assembly begins.
The premium product takes form in an extremely flexible way. Teams, consisting of two to three experts, work together on projects in production. These teams are there for the customer from the moment the very first component arrives until the machines are delivered – indeed they often even set them up and put them into operation. Our employees know our customers and are highly motivated. They always act on the basis that transfluid®’s quality guarantees good partnerships.
Thanks to their strategic and successful overall production concept, the Schmallenberg company has been meeting their customers’ requests in a flexible and highly effective manner for many years now. transfluid® are able to produce the entire portfolio of tube processing machines for pipes with a diameter of 273 mm. Vision becomes reality: approximately 40% of all production consists of customized solutions. In some cases these customizations are even tailored to individual manufacturing cells.
Since its foundation, transfluid® has focused on the essentials: its customers and its partners – and over the years this concept has continually been fine-tuned and extended. This led to the development of a unique strategy whereby this engineering company not only offers products but also solutions.
Continuous development is one of the secrets to transfluid®’s success – there is an ancient Chinese proverb which says, “when the wind of change blows, some build walls, others build windmills.”