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Building long-term relationships with customers requires more than just a good product, it takes trust, compromising – and an important ingredient when doing business is that you are able to have fun together.
In Värnamo, you will find the head office and main factory for the WEMO Group, a company that was founded in 1987 by brothers Sven, Bengt and Olof Ståhl and which is today regarded as one of the leading manufacturers of linear robots and automation equipment for the plastics industry. Sven Ståhl, the company’s CEO, holds a similar view of the company’s collaboration with Axelent, which has been going on since 1992.
“The most important reason the relationship has worked so well for 28 years is that we have always had a mutual understanding for each other, which has allowed us to find a solution that is good for our customers. This has allowed us to grow together, even though their journey has a completely different dimension than ours”, says Sven.
He reflects that during the journey, they have had to overcome a lot of challenges, largely because WEMO is so different from Axelent’s ’regular’ customers in the sense that they use Axelent’s products in their own package solutions for end customers – but with customised measurements, custom colours and under their own brand. WEMO also buys items in bulk which they then warehouse themselves.
“We have not always been the easiest customer, since we have had so many requests and questions. But we have somehow been able to find a good compromise and managed to find that happy medium that has benefited us both and helped us grow. I think it’s about being able see things from each other’s perspectives to see how the wishes of both parties can be harmonised”.
For Yaskawa’s part, the collaboration started with the purchase of loose mesh sections and posts, something that soon led to orders for complete machinery protection systems. Given that each and every system is unique in its design, there are high demands placed on drawings that match different angles and outlets for tracks and doors.
“Here, we have always seen Axelent as a strong company. They are fast and service-oriented, and they have helped us with layout drawings when needed. They have also been responsive to our ideas and adapted to a large extent according to our requests and requirements which, of course, we see as very positive”, says Anders. And it is precisely this speed and the solution-oriented approach that Sven sees as two of Axelent’s greatest strengths.
“Besides the fact that we like their products, it is probably their responsiveness and speed that we value most. Their speed is sort of their signature, both in terms of customer communication and delivery. Their other strengths are that they are strategically competent in their entire approach and they are able to read what the market is looking for”.
In many cases, Axelent’s customer relationships have led to a mutual exchange that has opened the door to new business opportunities between the seller and the customer. One example is Yaskawa, who have performed a variety of tests on Axelent’s products over the years. Axelent have purchased complementary products for their mesh partitions from WEMO, which are now part of the current range, as well as robots for Axelent Engineering.
“It’s about showing that helping each other is a two-way street. They help us develop our products, and we help them refine theirs. And even though views on machinery protection vary around the world, I always promote Axelent so that more of our branches take a look at their products”, says Anders.
Axelent’s ability to maintain long-term partnerships with their customers requires more than reliability and understanding. It is also about building good relationships on a more personal level.
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