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Doors are very basic, really. There is a range of standard doors and they work according to different basic principles and you can modify and combine different components to solve the customer's problems.
"When we receive an inquiry, this is the first thing we do - check what is in the product portfolio and see if we can adapt what we already have", says Sven Toftgård, Product Manager at Axelent in Sweden.
The goal is to be able to do as much as possible with as few parts as possible:
"Our minset about doors - and everything we do - is that it should be module-based, a bit like Lego. The secret is to have few but good building blocks that we can then combine in different ways to solve customers problems and challenges", says Sven.
How wishes and ideas are generated is a little different from case to case. Sometimes it comes from the sales person who have direct contact with the customers, sometimes through retailers or our subsidiaries worldwide, who then turn to the head office with their challenge.
"It varies a bit how deep knowledge the customers has about our products. Many machine suppliers deliver a complete solution including machine protection. And sometimes you come out to a site with an old machine that now needs to be repaired, either if it has an older machine protection that needs to be updated or if it has no machine safety at all. They may not have enough knowledge and then we have to take on a bigger role", says Simon Palm, salesman at Axelent.
Axelent has a relatively new R&D department that processes and develops new product ideas, either according to customers' wishes or based on their own head - usually the former.
"Either we have a problem to solve or a need to fill. The first thing we ask ourselves is: which one is it?", says Emma Sundelius, Product Development Manager at Axelent HQ.
The ideas are further developed and taken to the test stage, where you look at prototypes or models to see if it works as intended. Then we do further design in CAD programs on a computer. The actual testing can take place either in-house or at an external test lab when required. How much the customer is involved during the actual development and testing phase varies.
"We really like to have a dialogue and work with customers, and we see it as a great benefit. We have worked with some customers for a long time. They have the same drive and development passion as us, which makes everything much more fun and at the end, the result is better because they have experience from the reality", says Emma Sundelius.
"Either we have a problem to solve or a need to fill. The first thing we ask ourselves is: which one is it?"
Somewhere in the process - sometimes early, sometimes late – our purchasing department is also involved, to coordinate and plan how components should be purchased.
"We get involved in the components of a door, when it comes to the products that we ourselves can’t manufacture. How we work differs and also when we get involved in the process. When developing simpler products, we become involved later in the process. For more complex products, we come in earlier in the process and then we choose a supplier at an early stage. When we develop a product together with a supplier it’s important for us to be involved, so that it will be optimally adapted to production and at the right costs", says Jim Sundgren, Purchasing Manager at Axelent HQ.
One thing that has become extra clear during the pandemic is how important it is Axelent to have suppliers in our immediate area:
"Using national suppliers is a great advantage, not least with the current imbalance and lack of capacity that prevails in the transport industry. We have very short lead times with suppliers in Sweden and we cooperate largely with local suppliers. This gives us great flexibility and high delivery security. If we have quality problems or if we want to make a change of a product, we can fix this immediately. These are factors that we value very highly", says Jim Sundgren.
A new customer-unique solution meets that customer's needs and solves the challenges and problems that have existed there and then. If it is really successful, it can then very well find its way into the range and become standard. A good example of this is the combined hinge and sliding door.
"A customer in the mechanical engineering industry came to us with a challenge. They had lack of space and needed a door solution that created a large opening. But it could not take up much space when it was open, which is a classic dilemma when installing doors. In this case, they could not have a top rail either. So the challenge became; large opening, no rail and no large door leaves that were in the way. There we managed to create a hybrid, a combination of hinge and sliding door so that they could push the door leaves together. It became such a successful solution that it is now available as a standard solution at Axelent", says Sven Toftgård.
"It is the area you have available and that the door wont cause any risk, such as a collision when it’s opened. You should not install a door with a larger opening than you need. And last but not least, we have the safety around the door: Which lock should be added to the door? Do you need a switch? And in that case, maybe even cable trays", says Simon Palm.
To help you choose the right door for the right occasion, Axelent have produced some films and articles where we highlight the uniqueness of each door. All parts of this campaign will be published on our News page. Do not miss this in the future!
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