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Yearend Special Interview with Fastener Solutions & Logistics Giant from Europe

2018-11-13  |  Class : FW

by Dean Tseng, Fastener World


With more than 185 years of history in the fastener industry, Bossard is certainly one of the longest-standing and most preferred suppliers of assorted fasteners in Europe. Today Bossard’s global network generates double-digit growth every year and encompasses 80 locations across the globe, employing 2,300 people of various ethnics. Some of the well-known brands such as Arnold Industries, Bighead and KVT-Fastening are now part of Bossard’s group of companies. In our yearend special interview with Mr. Andreas Bertaggia, Bossard vice president and head of global supply chain management, he shares how Bossard continues to break new grounds with 3 core capabilities and ultimate logistics technology.


Continuous Improvement of Bossard’s 3 Pillar Strategy

“Products”, “Engineering” and “Customer Logistics” are the 3 core drivers that opened up the business empire and sustained an unwavering presence in the market for Bossard. “Talking about products,” said Andreas, “we expanded our brand assortment quite a bit as well as our own brand such as FASTEKS and ECOSYN. In Engineering we are coming out with a new engineering service concept campaign where we serve our customers with a full set of expertise unique in our industry. Last but not least we are in the middle of digitalization with our customer logistics services. The so called Smart Factory Logistics which is pointing right into the digitalization wave and helping our customers to be better, faster and cheaper and putting them right into the future.”


Digging into the success of the 3 pillars strategy I have come to wonder what it takes for Bossard to stand out in the fastener industry. Andreas pointed out the company has people with top-level fastener understanding and commercial understanding of customer needs. Second is Bossard’s exceptional group culture in that they always look beyond the border and take very much care on little things that make the difference at the end of day. “We don’t want to do just a marketing campaign out of it. Our slogan is ‘Proven Productivity’ which means we want real and proven solutions for our customers to help them succeed in the market.” Third is the cost issue and Andreas explained, “We always talk about the 15/85 principle. What it means is that most of our clients only look at product price (which basically makes 15% of the TCO) but seldom look at TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) as the whole cost factor. What we do is first show customers the whole impact of cost on their TCO and then again the proven productivity claim if we integrate our alternative products, combined with engineering and logistics that are able to significantly save their time and money by the other 85% of their cost.”


Industry-leading Bossard Smart Factory Logistics & 3D Printing Technology in Development

The Smart Factory innovation is the one thing you’d be most impressed about Bossard. The company has many smart solutions where each targets a specific customer need. This is made possible by Bossard’s SmartBin/SmartLabel systems, ARIMS (intelligent supply chain collaboration platform), Last Mile Management (autonomous mobile robots bringing all the parts needed from the warehouse to the assembly line), and a self-developed app for efficient shop floor management. “Lately we enhanced with artificial intelligence so that inventory can be further optimized and AI can predict what is needed on the shop floor even before customers know they will have a requirement. We are in the middle of Industry 4.0 and we proved it in all kinds of market that this is not just a marketing brochure but really working out and bringing our customers to the next level.”


Industry 4.0 is not some paper theory but a reality in the making, and Bossard is going in full throttle at this, utilizing its strength in fastener total solutions. “The core capability of our industry is to provide a whole bunch of services to customers, especially if you are a C-Parts provider. You need to be a one-stop-shop, a consultant, a solution provider and a partner by all means. By that I mean designing new parts with customers, taking over the fastener R&D, consulting our partners in the assembly line, giving them technical certification on product tests, bringing all kind of parts automated with self driving carts directly to the assembly line, and at the end of the day handing out all the data of parts consumption and figuring out how to do the whole process smoother by saving time and money. This will be the future level of service expected by our customers. I see the future that many things which are done manually will be automated and connected but it doesn’t mean we are getting rid of people. I believe that the job of today might be different tomorrow.”


Furthermore, Bossard is starting to step into 3D printing because it is one more valuable technology to take the place of conventional manufacturing methods. With 3D printing, Bossard expects to open up a further business field to all other services it is providing.


The Current World Status & Future Prospect

Looking at the ongoing trade war and the comeback of protectionism in the world, Bossard regards it as part of the ups and downs in the economy and it is just usual business to cope with. There is Darwin’s theory of evolution and survival of the fittest, and therefore “Looking ahead with Industry 4.0, the only thing we could do is to be open to all circumstances out there and find ways and solutions. Obstacles are also a big chance if you master them. Just a reminder that Bossard started with silk trading 170 years ago and because of changes in the market in the old days we have changed to a little DIY shop and out of that we became what we are today, so it is somehow in our DNA.”


So what does the future hold for Bossard? Andreas said the company will dig further on its 3 pillars in a global perspective, meaning it will conquer more markets, adding brands and solutions, and improving Smart Factory Logistics. “I’m sure in the near future Bossard will be much more than just a Fastener Provider. I do hope the future is bringing us and all readers the chances and possibility to succeed and you never know, since our industry is rather small, we will see each other somewhere out there. All the best!”.


Bossard’s contact: Vice president Mr. Andreas Bertaggia

E-mail: bmf@bossard.com

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