FDM Asia: IMA and Schelling group has established a new consultancy company. Can you tell us what’s the idea and motivation behind it? What can customers achieve through the consultancy?
Bernhard Berger: We see the production lines in the Chinese market have been moving towards being more automised. That’s the production philosophy we see in the Chinese market for the long run.
In order to optimise the production line of IMA and Schelling group, we want to have a group of people who can advise our customers what kind of production and technology they should implement for their facilities and factories. And then we have very well-trained specialists who can give the advice to our customers. That’s the new consultancy service. Holger Bloetsche has extensive experience in this area and we are very satisfied with him who can provide good consultancy service in China.
The customers possibly have much demand. They have certain number of panels they want to produce every month or every day and they don’t have the solution on what is the best way to produce, and they can’t figure out what kind of equipment they need.
With our new consultancy service, they will know what can help them. It gives them the idea what is the better way to organize their facilities, and what kind of equipment they should deploy.
Eric Zhu: In the Chinese market, industry 4.0 is new concept for the sector of customised home, thus it requires professional people to plan it.
In order to improve the competitiveness of the whole group, we set up the consulting company which plays the role of like pioneers, understanding the customer needs firstly, making a good plan for the whole plant, and then use our comprehensive production lines to create satisfactory products.
In addition, service was our weakness previously, and now we have achieved attentive and customized services level. When we carry out large project, we arrange our staff to live around customers' factories, and all the spare parts would also be delivered to the customers' site.
If there's any problem, we can solve it at once. When we conduct the other routine services, we always learn from good example of the industry. Overall, creating consultancy can further improve our service quality, which aims to let our customers be more satisfied.
FDM Asia: How can the technology of batch size one affects the future? And what do your customers think of it?
Andreas Bischoff: We think that batch size one technology has already becoming more standout in the Chinese business. A lot of customers invested in mass production several years ago.
Now they have changed and look forward to batch size one. We think that this is the future technology for Chinese market, also combining with automated system.
From our side, we see that our customers have more and more targets on the quality of production. So the quality of furniture has become higher. Therefore, for the production they need producing machines with high quality.
On one side, there’s a lot of demand for large numbers of production, on the other side, the quality people need is increasing at the same time, and it means our customers require more technology on the machines and production now, so they would like to choose more technical way like batch size one to produce furniture products.
Bernhard Berger: We not only provide the single machine, we also provide the solution which meets the customers’ demand. And we have invested quite significant amounts over the parts in our service team. We have very well-trained personnel here. All excellent resources can be provided.
FDM Asia: How is the group performing in the Chinese market? What are your plans?
Eric Zhu: First of all, it's a good time for woodworking industry to develop, and the trend of customization home being globalisation will continue. With the promotion of urbanisation, effective use of space resources is very important, which requires furniture to be customization.
Secondly, private companies are the mainstream on the market, and therefore, our industry will be more concentrated and efficient. The machinery provided by IMA and Schelling group could coincide with that industry demand which ensure the high efficiency of production. Therefore, with such a healthy external market, our focus is on the internal adjustment of our company.
Over the past two years, IMA and Schelling group has completed the internal personnel integration and network layout, and achieve attentive service level.
Then what we need to do is adjusting the product, which is also the task for entire IMA and Schelling group.
We have to take time to investigate the Chinese market situation thoroughly, understand the needs of Chinese customers and develop the equipment that meets the national conditions of China. Thus, our group set up the consulting company, IMA and Schelling group's Industry 4.0 consulting company, to help customers make the general scheme.
IMA and Schelling group also have an operating system called IPC, which can complete all cut to size, edge banding and drilling programs, including automatic packaging and other follow-up processes.
This kind of soft service actually provides another technical support for Chinese customers, and it helps us optimize products.
At present, our customers from Eastern and Southern China are very interested in our consultancy. We also set up a project team to deal with this kind of business in China, equipped with professional and technical talents to complete the work.
Bernhard Berger: As it is said before, we see the Chinese market is moving upward, and batch size one production lines have been greatly upgraded.
We have been doing businesses in China for more than 15 years on production lines. We also developed batch size one in China. And this kind of production lines we have implemented has also lasted for two years in the past.
Now we have solid basis for growing on. The current products are what we are going to send in the future together with our growing team in China. We are very confident that China will be one of our major markets for IMA and Schelling group.
Andreas Bischoff: We see our products are more and more demanded by our customers, and at the same time, we are not only promoting machine, but also raising our service quality. From one step to the other, we are focusing on more and more customers and try to raise our brand and production itself in the same time over the big Chinese country.
So the strategy brings to this is to give advice to our customers on how they should organize their production. This is what we do in consultancy, providing the highest quality and performance with our machinery, and give best service to customers during the whole lifecycle of IMA.
FDM Asia: What kind of products will be exhibited at XYLEXPO?
Andreas Bischoff: It’s a fair which is almost for Italian market. Some visitors coming from other countries will dedicate to Italian market.
And especially for Italy, we are the market leader in batch size one production line. I think every customer of us can find IMA machines and IMA production system with high-tech on that time, thus batch size one production technology will be exhibited by our group.
We try to present us as market leader at once specially for Italian market.
FDM Asia: What else would you like to share with our readers?
Bernhard Berger: We are actually very happy that in the last three years, IMA and Schelling group developed together.
Since IMA and Schelling became one group, we have been chasing one business, that is providing complete solutions to our customers. From cut to size to drilling and all related technology, we will try our best to bring them to our customers in China.
Merger of the two companies is a big step to develop further which contributed greatly to our achievement now, and we believe we will provide greater solution henceforth.