SPECK's professional shoppers

Organising supplies does not simply mean “shopping“ for the purchasing employees. There is much more at stake here: keeping production and administration running, weighing up the capital commitment through stock keeping, keeping an eye on the value for money and, above all, the effects of purchases on the selling prices of one‘s own products. Knowledge of many business processes, good negotiating skills, knowledge of the seasonal market fluctuations and human contact with key suppliers are required in order to optimally manage these complex links.

Bianka Reinhardt, Fatih Afat, Alexander Wirth and an apprentice who rotates departments every three months are SPECK Pumpen Verkaufsgesellschaft‘s purchasers. They provide everything that our company needs to be able to work. This includes simple everyday items such as office supplies and protective clothing, as well as products that we do not manufacture ourselves and the essential components for our production: motors, injection moulded plastic parts and injection moulds, tools, cardboard boxes, pallets, mechanical seals, etc.

This list could be continued almost indefinitely. Around 15,000 orders to approx. 1,000 different suppliers leave the department each year. In order to maintain an overview, an appropriate division is necessary. The assignment of different article groups to individual employees enables colleagues to acquire background knowledge and experience for their articles and to establish personal contact with suppliers.

Bianka Reinhardt is the purchaser for pumps from the SPECK factories in Roth, Geretsried and Bielefeld as well as all accessories. In 2019 she will celebrate her 40th anniversary with the company. She is not only familiar with the large number of pump types and their components, but also has a very good feeling for the production and delivery times from the other factories. Every year she is assigned the responsible task of organising the inventory. Then, everything that concerns the most different articles really comes together with her.

Fatih Afat has been at SPECK for almost ten years. He is responsible for merchandise and packaging materials. The monitoring and controlling of the kanban system is also his responsibility.

Alexander Wirth has worked for our company for over 13 years and has been Head of Purchasing since 2014. He works closely with the development department purchasing components for the company‘s own production. Motors, pump plastic parts and the corresponding injection moulds are his speciality. In addition, there is the global import procedure.

None of the operating processes may come to a standstill because a required article is not in house. On the other hand, unnecessarily large stocks should also be avoided. This costs space and ties up capital. The purchasers are well organised in order to keep the balance and never lose sight of the big picture. If the stock level of any article approaches the individually stored minimum quantity, the merchandise management programme sends a demand message to the responsible material planner. This colleague, who uses the article in question directly, checks the requirements on the basis of the actual workload and passes the order on to the purchasing department accordingly. Parameters such as minimum order quantities, delivery times and seasonal fluctuations in demand are taken into account. If necessary, different offers are obtained and then an order is placed. The agreed delivery date is confirmed to the material planner via the merchandise management programme. In this way, he knows when the articles will be available.

The supplier‘s order confirmation is checked in detail in purchasing. “For orders with very high order values, of course we prefer to look at it five times before releasing the order,“ says Alexander Wirth. New tools for the production of plastic parts can easily enter the six-figure range. If a mistake in the order were overlooked here, the financial and temporal consequences would be huge.

Regular price controls with various suppliers on the market as well as annual price negotiations with fixed suppliers are part of the job. The conditions agreed by the purchasing department have a one-to-one impact on the selling prices and competitiveness of our products. However, the product quality and supllier‘s delivery conditions also have great influence.

Partnerships, some of which have lasted decades, have developed primarily with production-relevant suppliers. In exceptional cases, familiar personal contact and the willingness to approach one another make many things possible that anonymous trade relations do not offer. “Where you would most likely hear a decided “impossible“ from external suppliers, a real partner ensures that the goods required are on the doorstep the next morning“, the department head knows the benefits of having regular suppliers. “When the going gets tough, we can rely on our suppliers and we show them that
this is not a matter of course for us, even after many years!“

In purchasing, the price is very decisive but it doesn‘t have the final say. If you want to sell high quality, you have to ensure that you buy high quality! This is what Alexander Wirth, Bianka Reinhardt and Fatih Afat stand for when organising supplies for the sales company …

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