To speak about the importance of the customers, about services offered on the market and even on how to present the company and its products, we’ve met Frédéric Springmann, CEO of Springmann S. A. This company sells solutions to manufacturers, for instance Traub and Index inSwitzerland and in Austria. Clearly there are some things to be learned with them.
You take part in a large number of exhibitions despite the high costs of these events. What are the objectives of your participation in such events?
Material-removal machining is the common denominator in our range of production machines. It is true that we want to participate at exhibitions with this theme and we think that our customers also expect to see us at this kind of event, even if it is just in a small way. Each exhibition is an excellent way to encourage exchanges with our customers and create new contacts.
At the beginning of May, you are organizing an in-house exhibition on your premises. Will you be presenting new products on this occasion?
Of course, our wide product range means our customers always have a good reason to come back and see us, as products are continually evolving and we regularly represent new manufacturers or products. For customers who are visiting us for the first time, it is also an opportunity to show them the infrastructure we have at our disposal to serve our customers, both in terms of human resources and logistics.
We have heard about exhibitions with no machine presentations. Is that something you could consider doing?
Yes, even within the framework of a specialized exhibition, the products on show don’t necessarily exactly meet the specific needs of our visitors, and this fact doesn’t prevent us from providing them with the information they require.
On your website you underline the confidence your customers have in your company. What measures do you take to create this confidence or to preserve it?
The fact that we still supply today some our very first customers, who have been loyal to our company since 1920, clearly proves that we have taken the right path, so we are continuing our company philosophy while at the same time adapting our structures to market changes!
You are specialized in « customer solutions ». How do you develop these solutions?
I prefer the concept of « solutions for the customer ». Our close proximity to our suppliers (Western Europe) allows us to fully fulfil our role as an interface between the machine user and the machine manufacturer.
You are present on markets in French-speaking Switzerland, German- speaking Switzerland and Austria. Do you think that the solution for the customer can be the same for these three markets?
One of our slogans is « you have the hands – we have the tool », which means that our customer has the specific know-how of his profession and we have our knowledge of the products and our accumulated experience. With this combined knowledge we can provide a solution which is technically and economically viable -this concept is universal and can cross any borders.
What is your main competitive advantage?
The constancy of the service provided.
As opposed to a manufacturer, you represent several product brands in several product categories. Can you claim to be a specialist in this case?
Like for a manufacturer, our skills are spread out among our company’s employees. The customer is expecting first and foremost an excellent understanding of his requirements. Secondly, he must be able to rely on serious product offers and if he places an order, it must be dealt with professionally. Moreover, he also demands efficient follow-up after acquisition. From the customer’s point of view, the specialist is no doubt the company who can satisfy his requirements one way or another. Command of local factors (like language, for example) provides, of course, an additional competitive advantage.
Are you also proposing oils and tooling?
Yes and no. Our partners’ geographical location means, of course, that we also supply « turnkey » solutions with direct contact between the manufacturer and our customer. If, however, we are not in a position to advise our customer on a peripheral subject, we are happy to establish contact with our colleagues in the industry who we can recommend based on our experience.
What are the advantages for the customer?
As an intermediary, is it not difficult to offer finely tuned solutions?
An independent intermediary with a long-term vision of his business has a dual role – he doesn’t just defend the interests of his suppliers – he also has to defend his customer’s interests vis-à-vis the supplier so both are satisfied.
This was highly interesting for me, hope the same for you!
PS: I’m on Medisiams this week and I was at Medtec Stuttgart last week… the market is moving and interesting… I’ll come back on that soon.
PS2: Active in Switzerland or Austria? Don’t miss http://www.springmann.com/f/homepage.php