"Corona brings solid supply chain partnerships to the fore"
For Oliver Dautzenberg, Managing Director of Kontron Europe GmbH, it is clear that companies in the corona crisis cannot avoid dealing intensively with their global supply chains. In an interview, he reveals which things they should be focusing on in particular.
Kontron editorial team: Mr. Dautzenberg, what problems are companies facing in the corona crisis?
Of course, every company has to deal with its very own problems during the crisis, but it is clear that the corona crisis has devastating consequences for many sectors of the economy. Growth forecasts for the global economy are regularly revised downwards and experts fear that the crisis will massively slow down the pace of innovation because companies have to postpone projects due to slumps in sales. At the same time, however, there is enormous pressure to drive innovation in order to emerge stronger from the crisis. Companies can only overcome this dilemma together with competent, reliable partners.
Kontron editorial team: Reliable partners - can you define that more precisely?
Reliable partnerships are based on transparency, trust and appreciation. They ensure that supply chains continue to function even in times of crisis. Kontron, for example, maintains long-term, sustainable business relationships with its key suppliers, in which these values play a major role. In addition, we at Kontron have ensured that our suppliers are also intensively networked with one another, enabling them to support one another in an emergency. The close relationship between our suppliers enables us to minimize the risk of supply bottlenecks and to absorb crises much better.
Kontron editorial team: So a functioning supply chain is more than ever a success factor in times of crisis?
Correct, Corona puts solid supply chain partnerships in the foreground and shows once again how important it is to work with competent, reliable partners. In the ideal case, the supply chain setup with partners starts as early as the product development stage. In addition, Kontron approves 'second sources' for critical components in the product bill of materials during the development phase to secure the supply. Thanks to a balanced ratio of in-house and external production on three continents with corresponding redundancies, we can draw on a flexible production network that has proven its worth in times of crisis. In the event of a major crisis with severe disruption to the supply chain, a special task force of experienced in-house specialists at Kontron works together with customers and suppliers to find solutions quickly.
Kontron editorial team: What else is important in a functioning supply chain?
Ideally, there is flexibility not only in terms of production, but also in terms of the choice of location. With distributed production facilities in Europe, Asia and the USA, Kontron can significantly reduce the risk of supply bottlenecks. In addition to this, we always have assemblies/products manufactured by two suppliers at the same time, so that in the event of relocation, all internal and external manufacturers are already familiar with the technology. Regular demand forecasts and the maintaining of a certain stock of critical components also contribute to supply security. Companies with regular requirements should also enter into framework agreements to secure the supply chain over a longer period of time. Should problems arise, this allows priorities to be set quickly and, as a rule, at least partial deliveries to be agreed.
Kontron editorial team: Experts agree that the corona crisis will provide a digitalization boost for many companies. What does it take for this boost to succeed optimally?
In the ideal case, companies have a "full service provider" like Kontron at their side, who accompanies and supports them throughout the entire process - from the initial consultation, through production and process optimization, to implementation. Through innovative technologies and active participation in new standards, we at Kontron can provide a wide range of services, as well as hardware and software products and - as the only and leading European player - cover the entire value chain, from EMS/ODM to software/IT services.
Our secure global supply chain and high cash holdings make us a reliable and financially strong partner that you can always rely on, even in times of crisis.
Kontron editorial team: Mr. Dautzenberg, thank you for the interview!