Thursday, November 19, 2015

Success in the Marketplace - It’s NOT Just About the Economic Indicators

by Andy Woodward

Current economic indicators in manufacturing are at the lowest levels for years, but why do Wenzel America sales continue to grow?

Is it products, market sectors served, our focus or our ‘family approach’ or might it be a combination of all of these factors?
The purchasing managers’ index sits at 50.1 in October – this is the lowest value since May of 2013. The only time it fell to below 50 (indicating a recessionary forecast) in the last 5 years was in November of 2012. So there’s not too much optimism about short-term future expenditure out there.

The USMTO reported the lowest quarterly orders for Q3 2015 since the recession of 2008/9 also and in some parts of the country the order acquisition is at historically low levels – the South-Central region (which includes Texas) has been hit particularly badly.

Both Gardner Business media and the USMTO are forecasting that machine tool sales will be down in the region of 16 or 17% in 2016 when compared to 2015.

So why is it that is these quite uncertain times that Wenzel America continues to thrive and grow? I believe it's a combination of factors


FOCUS :

I think we understand our products well and we understand in which sectors we sell well compared to our competitors. We sell REVO CMM’s and CORE-DS high speed, optical scanning systems to aero engine manufacturers, we sell solidly-built, mechanically accurate, granite CMM’s to job shops and we sell good value horizontal arm machines to sheet metal pressing companies and styling studios. We know where we can be successful and we stick to our job. Our target customer base is doing well which is good for us, but we target them for this reason too.

GEOGRAPHY :

We know where our customers and potential customers are and we go and visit them to explain what we can offer them.


PRODUCTS :

We have products that stand up well to the requirements of our target customers. We show them the pay back and most times they buy from us.

FAMILY :

Perhaps customers trust a family-owned company to stick to the job when times get a little tougher. Maybe they understand that we are in it for the long haul and we won’t cut back or shy away from our responsibilities.

All of the above are contributing factors to our continued success, but I think most of all it reminds me of a mantra we used to use a while back in the Wenzel family – “Wenzel – big enough to support you, but small enough to care”.






Metrology Sales Partners - What Does the OEM Do for You and What Do You Both Do for Your Customers?

At Wenzel America we have a unique history that gives a unique perspective on things like customer service, flexibility and providing all of our customers with the most personalized metrology solutions possible.  Our core values - our soul, so to speak - remain true to our roots as a Wenzel sales partner and service provider many years ago.

As Wenzel America, those values have only been strengthened by our status as part of the world’s largest family-owned metrology company.

Maintaining that nimble level of customer service as part of an international OEM, is made easier by our special relationships with our Sales Partners.  As with any OEM, Sales Partners (SP) are a vital channel that helps us get our products in front of new customers and also gives a local and personal connection to current Wenzel CMM customers.

We know first hand that independent representatives can have a more personalized relationship with their customer base in their territories than an OEM might have, even with a cultural background like ours. That extra level of knowledge and trust with their customers is one of the main benefits a Sales Partner provides from an OEM perspective.

For Sales Partners, having an OEM who not only has a high-quality product they can be confident selling to their customers, but who cultivates a culture of high-value, family-owned service similar to their own, is pretty unique.

Typically, a matching of strengths should parlay into increased sales. The Sales Partners close relationship coupled with the best products gives their mutual customers confidence that the Sales Partner has their best interests in mind, first and foremost.

The Best CMMs and Metrology Equipment Money Can Buy


From a CMM Sales Partner perspective, that’s the value a great OEM supplier brings to the table. To make that a reality for our own Sales Partners we offer a broad spectrum of metrology solutions, but always lead off with the industry standard Bridge CMMs.

We offer three different Bridge CMM models for three separate segments. Our Bridge CMMs come in a variety of sizes with a variety of sensor options to fit almost any needed size, level of accuracy and budget.

Our Sales Partners are also able to sell large CMMs to help their customers who have to measure larger parts. For one sales partner, Borbolla Metrology in Mexico, we have actually custom-built some of the largest Gantry CMMs in the world.

Whether the need it is large LH frame machines, Half Gantry, Gantry or even the awe inspiring LHF with bridge configuration Y-axis up to 12 meters, we help our partners deliver the exact measuring solution their customers need.

Rounding out the traditional CMMs, our partners also can supply Horizontal Arm Machines (HAM) including above floor, side mounted or in-ground solutions.

Bridge, Large CMM, Gantry and HAM CMMs - Tip of the iceberg for Wenzel America’s Sales Partners


If all we offered were our industry-standard, all-granite traditional CMM frames it would be enough for many Sales Partners and their customers.  For us though, and our partners, it is really just the entry point for today’s CMM market.


5 Things Sales Partners should look for in their OEM 


1.  Does the OEM offer a full line of CMMs in all price ranges?


Any Sales Partner needs an OEM supplier with entry level CMMs all the way to premium, top-of-the-line metrology machines.  Typically, Sales Partners will not have a large “house account”, as those accounts generally go direct. The majority of a reseller’s customer base will need “high value” measurement solutions.

As an example, in many cases, scanning is the best solution for parts inspection -- technically. However, the vast majority of machine shops and general manufacturers don’t require that level of accuracy or data density.

In which case, a high-speed tactile touch sensor like the PH20 mounted on an XO CMM or even retrofitted on a refurbished frame they own would give tremendous accuracy and better value for the customer.

2.  Does the OEM offer HAMs, Large Bridge and traditional sized CMMs?

If the OEM’s offering includes HAMs and larger CMMs amongst their traditional size bridge CMMs they have the technical expertise to design, build and service these CMMs. HAMs also give the Sales Partner’s customers the ability to fit with tools to turn them into machines for Design Studios as well.

3.  What is the OEM’s quality, service and certification standard?

After the sale of the machine, Sales Partners rely on the CMMs they sell to perform as promised by the OEM.  Often, they also would need a means of providing calibrations, certification and emergency service that they may not be able to fulfill themselves and so depend on the OEM.

4.  Does the OEM have an international presence?

An OEM with an international footprint can mean big advantages for a partner’s customers and greater sales potential for the Sales Partner themselves. If their customer has locations in more than one country the Sales Partner can leverage the OEM’s worldwide presence to place machines where they may otherwise be unable.  Additionally, there is an increased likelihood that the measurement or inspection solution their customer chooses is used and accepted around the world.

5.  Is the Metrology OEM keeping pace with rapid advancements?

When evaluating a metrology equipment OEM, any reseller should be looking at more than just the traditional CMM offerings. It goes without saying that Wenzel America (and others) have that area well covered.

But what about niche manufacturing markets or additive manufacturing?  In order to keep up with the insepection needs of manufacturers, metrology OEMs also need to be looking out for what’s next in measurement technology.



Are the riches in the niches for Metrology Sales Partners?


For example, let’s look at Gear Checking Machines.

Traditionally, we and many other CMM makers have handled these using an existing CMM with a rotary axis plus appropriate software and voila - Gear Checker CMM. Wenzel America still offers this solution with machines up to 4000mm.

But, nearly a decade ago, we took a new approach, acquiring a company specializing in gear checkers, which were then coupled with Wenzel’s granite bases and four decades of metrology know-how to create a full-line of dedicated gear checkers.

These dedicated gear-checking machines are available in various sizes and configurations up to to 3000mm in the WGT series. Having the exact solution for this niche is certainly a market advantage for our sales partners.

Turbine blade production is another important and growing niche manufacturing industry for which Wenzel has created dedicated solutions.

Again, the traditional solution is to fit a CMM with scanning technology to check these blades. Most OEMs provide a solution along these lines.  Of course, Wenzel America does as well. But, like with gear checking, it can and should be done better. Wenzel America offers two additional solutions to keep up with the specialized needs of turbo blade manufacturers.

Renishaw’s 5-Axis REVO turbine blade game changer


Renishaw’s REVO 5-axis sensor has revolutionized turbine blade measurement and we’ve been with them every step of that innovative application. Few other OEMs even offer the Renishaw REVO as a solution and few if any have Wenzel’s depth of experience with it.

The thing about game changers is ... there’s really never a time when they’re the last and final word.  With that in mind, Wenzel also brought the brand new technology to market with the CORE high-speed optical scanner.  The CORE technology pushes the bar in blade measurement even further ahead. It stands without peer in measuring blade solutions provided by any CMM OEM. It is a completely new and disruptive metrology technology that no one else has.

Wenzel America Sales Partners with customers manufacturing turbine blades then stand with a unique advantage, offering a solution none of the competition can.

Additive manufacturing's best metrology solution? - CT 

Very few CMM OEMs design, build and manufacture their own Computed Tomography (CT) machines. Wenzel’s CT machines bring the rock solid and engineering Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Reverse Engineering (RE).

Few CMM OEM’s design, build and manufacture their own CT solutions. Wenzel is one of those CMM OEMs.

What a traditional CMM OEM, like Wenzel, brings to the CT equation is the ability to make accurate measurements on features. Applying metrology engineering know-how to the CT world makes a significant difference in what this technology can do.

Partnering with an OEM that manufacturers and designs CT machines means the ability to offer a technology that can measure part features no other technology can.  This includes intricate 3D printed and additive manufacturing parts, as well as fully functional completed parts that can’t be destroyed.  This adds another level of technology to future proof a sales partner in an ever-changing manufacturing landscape.

A CMM OEM with a solid tradition and unique flexibility


Hewing to the most inherently accurate metrology material - granite is at the foundation of all Wenzel’s metrology machines, from our CMMs to our CORE machines. Our frames may be rigid but Wenzel America also has a tradition of being uniquely flexible. One way this manifests itself is our ability and willingness to retrofit and offer used CMMs to our Sales Partners and their customers.

In the OEM/ Sales Partner equation the keyword is partner


If all that mattered were the technologies and machines the CMM OEM brought to the table, it would be easy to say why our Sales Partners are successful.


But the reality is our Sales Partners are successful because they put the interests of their customers first.

It’s easy to look at the checklist on the right and see what we offer the Sales Partners. One of the things on the list that we did not cover is, family owned.

Like some of our most successful Sales Partners, our business is family owned. We think this is important.  For us, it means there is a personal stake for both sides and it informs how we approach every partnership and every customer interaction.

The same can be said for our most successful partners and in looking at their mission statements there is that common thread -- they all focus on ensuring their customers get the right fit CMM or metrology equipment that will improve their manufacturing processes and maximize their investment. The focus is not on maximizing their profits at the cost of their customers.

If you think that is important, which we do, then this certainly is a plus. We also build our CMMs with granite. Granite is the foundation for CMMs that are inherently accurate by design. Wenzel America has a tradition of being flexible. One way this manifests itself is the ability to retrofit and offer used CMMs to our Sales Partners and their customers.

Who are some of Wenzel America’s Sales Partners?




Now let’s take a tour of some of our most successful Sales Partners around the country - Willrich Precision, Ohio Gage, Borbolla Metrology, CMM Products and Vantage Measurements. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of our Sales Partners it is a good cross section.


Like Wenzel, Willrich Precision has been in business for more than 40 years. They have decades of experience in gaging, inspection and metrology. This Wenzel America Sales Partner’s product offering includes everything from basic measuring tools to the most sophisticated metrology products and CMMs. Laser systems to gage blocks and micrometers to vision systems, every measuring product comes with an immeasurable component - a wealth of expert service and advices drawn from decades of experience.

From humble beginnings in a spare room in 1971, this family company is today a recognized leader in measurement instrumentation and an important Wenzel America Sales Partner

From their website: "Serving the measurement needs of Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Western P.A. for over 30 years." Ohio Gage brings a broad industry and product knowledge to the market, with a history of flexible, value base solutions. 


This Wenzel America Sales Partner is focused on being the Northwest US premier provider of full service CMM equipment, CMM software and service. Vantage Measurement Systems shares our commitment to partnership with each of their customers to collaborate with them to find affordable, accurate solutions to their metrology problems.


Borbolla is another family company started by two brothers in 1996 in Mexico.  Founded on the idea that the market needed and wanted a metrology supplier with the highest degree of professionalism and customer service along with only the best dimensional metrology equipment, 20 years of growth has proven they were right.

This Wenzel America Sales Partner fully supports every machine they place with several training centers and show rooms offering hands on support, CMM training and certification in several locations across the Republic of Mexico.

They have also placed two of the largest CMMs Wenzel has ever produced in two plants in Mexico. Borbolla has become the go to source for quality and value in metrology equipment and service, with CMMs ranging from refurbished and certified used machines to the most advanced metrology technologies available.

And, of course they are a vital member of the Wenzel America Sales Partner family. In fact, we did an in-depth interview and profile of Borbolla in a bilingual article on our blog this past April.


CMM Products is another successful Wenzel America Sales Partner with decades of experience helping manufacturers invest in the best CMM for their specific needs.  Their customer-oriented approach is all about exceeded expectations. They sell new WENZEL CMMs, as well as Pre-Owned CMMs, Retrofits and Upgrades.  CMM Products also offers Service and Repair, Calibration, Training, Relocation and Logistics.

As with many Wenzel America Sales Partners they have a team of service engineers able to provide very fast and dependable repair service, calibration and preventative maintenance across the U.S.
Their dedication to maximizing the productivity of your CMM and optimizing its accuracy and repeatability makes them a top notch Wenzel Sales Partner aligned fully with our focus on providing the best value and the exact right fit CMM. 






Why is Granite the Metrology Material of Choice for Wenzel?

In case you haven’t noticed, we love granite.

Granite is the primary building material for all of our machines for the main reason that it provides the most metrologically stable base to build our high accuracy CMMs from. 

But granite is important to us for a few other reasons too.

For one, it’s what our company is founded on. 

Our ability to efficiently build CMMs from granite that we process in-house is a cornerstone of what we do and how we do it. It’s our heritage as much as anything and it sets a tone for both our engineering and product development. 

Not only is it the most stable metrology material to build from, but designing our processes around granite gives us a stable vision and a consistency in how we approach new products and technology.

Some would say that consistency over time defines quality. We wouldn’t argue that.

Another undeniable benefit of being so "Granite-centric" is we have developed unrivaled expertise in our processes over decades. Whereas, if we’d lost focus or consistency we would not have the level of quality we do.

Keep in mind once the rock leaves the ground at the quarry, we control all the manufacturing processes required to build a machine. Nothing is left to chance - Rough Cut - Grinding - Hand Lapping - and all other related steps - done internally, by our staff, with our equipment.

This is crucial because it allows us control over the most critical part of our production, but it also gives us tremendous flexibility in what we make. If you'd like to learn more about how we maintain this quality from quarry all the way to placing the CMM on your floor read our prior blog post here.


For instance, if you make long thin parts - Say, 150mm x 150mm x 3700mm - we can build you a machine exactly to those needs just as easily as we could build a stock size. Because we control the raw material and the complete process, we have the flexibility to create an effectively stockmachine, for your custom application.

Conversely, if you have a room that will only fit a machine that is 3500mm x 3500mm x 2200mm, we can make you one that fits those constraints while maximizing the measuring volume for your parts.

Or maybe you make parts that for their size - say a cube of 1000mm - are very heavy. Possibly weighing as much as 12,000 lbs. We can build a machine with a thicker plate that will accept these heavier loads, without having to increase the overall size of the machine.

This flexibility gives us the unique ability to offer solutions that allow you the customer to make decisions that are best for your project needs, without having to compromise because of the limitations of a vendor’s stock product offerings.


Want Free Granite in your stocking? Of course you do.


As we near Thanksgiving and the full holiday season, we’d like to show our thanks with our own FREE GRANITE SPECIAL OFFER.

We're offering our annual Free Granite promotion...

Through the end of 2015 you can increase the length of a new bridge CMM ordered by up to 50% at no additional charge. 

For example: 

You can order a 8.15.7 machine for the same price as an 8.10.7. or a 10.15.7 for the same price as a 10.12.7.

The choice (and the granite) is yours. Contact us today and we’ll get our metrology elves straight to work on your new CMM.