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Key supplier partnerships are serving to add sought after value for customers

Tony Hague

PP Control & Automation has been inspired by the many benefits of building partnerships with suppliers as part of a wider strategy to support the trend for outsourced design, engineering and more specialist competencies required by OEMs involved in complex machine building.

There is a desire to draw attention to the fact that cooperation within a framework of customer specific needs and optimisation of those needs, alongside the ability to adapt and drive innovation is sought after now more than ever.

PP C&A’s technical partnerships with innovative technology suppliers, testing & approval bodies and industry associations facilitates the continuous development of the company, capturing emerging opportunities at speed thanks to an ‘on request’ pool of expert knowledge and know-how to dip into. It can be the best chance at gaining a competitive advantage and often goes as an unrecognised benefit to the customer.

This however should not go unnoticed, as the importance of formulating relationships with suppliers is based on the knowledge of the conditions for the development of relations with customers. They go hand in hand. PP C&A is adamant that the benefits of its own strategic and technical partnerships with suppliers is given the attention it deserves.

Response to needs and main criteria

Manufacturers operating in today’s economic reality should have the ability to respond quickly to changes occurring within the markets they operate. Such phenomena as growing requirements of suppliers, dynamic globalisation of markets, growing competition, and activity of end-users, has led to the situation by which PP C&A needs to be on the cusp of new ideas that constitutes its own development and to successfully compete in changing environments.

That’s why the supply partnerships built at PP C&A are in line with its own objectives, those of its partners, and with the business pains of its customers. These partnerships are a fundamental asset in more regards than one so selecting and building the right ones is critical.

Main criteria for selection of partners are:

According to the EFQM Excellence Model, “partnership is for both parties a relationship that helps to develop and deliver added value.”

PP C&A couldn’t agree more.

Over the coming weeks, PP C&A will share case studies that delve into the detail of the working relationships with key technical partners and the added value benefits they bring.

To start off, the below case study shows the relationship between PP C&A and Grove Design in fulfilling requirements for Inventor-e’s industrial vending and asset management solutions.


The Grove Design & Inventor-e case study

The point of use specialist Inventor-e recently extended its partnership with PP C&A to make the most of £multi-million global opportunities to supply cloud-based technological innovation to customers around the world. The partnership makes the most of PP C&A’s relationships with key technical partners, including fellow MAN Group member, Grove Design.

The scenario

Grove Design was initially invited to a joint meeting with PP C&A and Inventor-e, where it was explained that an ongoing requirement for reliable quality production in increasing numbers needed design support that could improve existing products and generate new ones.

Grove Design presented its capability developed across a wide field of design, but with focus on the area most applicable to Inventor-e’s activity.

Inventor-e explained the need to fully define products suitable for a demanding workplace whilst offering cost-effective fabrication. Inventor-e has a strong track-record in a generation of ideas leading to intellectual property within their field but could see the power and potential in establishing partners to complement this in production and ongoing design.

More specifically, Inventor-e presented the requirement for a new generation of Industrial Vending Solutions and associated Asset Management and Tracking Solutions. Subsequently, design focussed meetings, involving all parties were held to generate concepts and start fleshing out ideas.

The solution

Working in close collaboration with PP C&A, Grove supported the design of a family of modular industrial vending systems that offered differing technology aimed at different market sectors and applications.

The systems use a standardised carcass that can be easily configured for specific customer requirements. Grove designed new approaches to cable management, door hinging and locking mechanisms, inter-cabinet cabling, and control panel access.

The cabinets are part of a much larger system and Grove has created new products that complement their functioning. New, more environmentally friendly asset tags, communicating through new gateways have also fallen within Grove’s remit. Intelligent bin scales, with a new flexible way to attach scales to bins has further complemented the growing system.

The benefits

By collaborating closely, PP C&A and Grove have refined the design to best suit assembly, such that anticipated fabrication and assembly times have been significantly reduced.

This has allowed products to fit within Inventor-e’s ambitions for cost reduction without sacrificing quality. Inventor-e’s objectives include significant scaling up of production, meaning the fundamental design and assembly activities need to be right from the start. Both Inventor-e and PP C&A can benefit from the value added and targeted growth.

The importance of developing a trusted partnership with key suppliers has a profound effect on the end solution for any customer. Many customers will often have stringent and bespoke requirements spanning a multitude of disciplines, so pooling resource and expertise from a network of exemplary engineers, designers and compliance specialists is perhaps the most noteworthy example of added value manufacturing.

To conclude, Austin Owens, Managing Director of Grove Design offered the following testimonial:

“Working with PP C&A makes my life easier. I know that if a potential client has met with them, then they’ll already be impressed. PP C&A has the equipment, systems, and the experience to position them above the pack and that’s obvious when you visit the facility. It is a pleasure to be associated with them and have the opportunity to collaborate on exciting projects with unique design briefs.”

Key supplier partnerships are serving to add sought after value for customers » austin owens » PP Control & Automation

Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks as we explore more relationships with key technical partners, collaborating to provide machine builders and OEMs with a unique value-added service.

Further reading

Manufacturing deal helps Inventor-e target £multi-million ‘industrial vending’ opportunity

A manufacturing collaboration born in the West Midlands is helping satisfy increasing demand for industrial inventory management solutions in the midst of Covid-19.

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