Personal contact is crucial

Looking back to the beginnings of APSOparts, one of the first web shops – what the Angst+Pfister family have to say.

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Ralf Werder, CEO APSOparts AG, www.apsoparts.com

How was the organisation grown and positioned within the AP Group?


At that time we were a small unit that had just learned to operate in the B2B e-commerce environment. In addition we had begun to sell Europe-wide.

What were your priorities over the last 5 years?


For me, the first priority was always to stay close to the customers. Not just on the phone or through emails, but face-to-face. Over the past few years we have built up a strong sales team that is regularly on-site with the customers. At the end of the day, the B2B e-commerce customer wants to have a face of the company. They want to have a contact person. In addition, we have put a lot of effort into the data quality. This is a never ending task. But the main focus of our work has been on delivery precision. Where today large B2C web shops operate with a “delivery in 18-24 days” system, we work to a precise day for delivery. Reliability is an important factor in the industrial environment.

To what extent has online business changed in the environment of APSOparts?


Market data shows that the B2B e-commerce environment is growing strongly. The industrial customers have recognised the value of the way a web shop allows fast access to information, and they make use it. We launched APSOparts 10 years ago. The apprentices and students of those days are now between 25 and 35 and often are in management positions or are important influencers. For these people, web shops are a normality and they use them. The affinity to B2B e-commerce has increased markedly in these ten years.

Where is APSOparts heading?
What are the plans for the future?


In the future, closeness to our customers is going to continue to be very important in B2B e-commerce. On the one hand we will be on-site at the customer’s and on the other hand, able to provide consultation via a live online chat. The chat service will be manned by experienced employees and provide support for our customers in all queries. In the near future, we will update the web shop and integrate customers’ feedback and wishes.

What is your personal wish for the future of APSOparts?


To continue to have great, motivated team colleagues and, of course, satisfied customers who click the purchase button very often.

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Interview with Andreas Hampel, CEO of ATEC Armaturenbau und -Technik GmbH, Klein-Winternheim, Germany

ATEC Armaturenbau und -Technik GmbH has constructed and manufactured special ball valves for the chemical, food, pharmacy and cosmetics industries since 1989. Its specialist areas are dead-space-free ball valves in soft and metallic sealed designs and specialist ball valve constructions for extreme conditions in special materials uch as titanium and Hastelloy®.

Since when have you ordered online from APSOparts?


Since 2015.

Have the ordering processes become any easier for you since digitalisation and introduction of the new system?


Yes, they are much faster and more transparent. There is no need to make an initial enquiry, it’s possible to place a direct order.

Are there other benefits for your day-to-day work?


Its easy to calculate a price, which makes ordering much simpler as the prices can be seen directly.

Do you find you are ordering more online than by the classic telephone/email methods?


No, we still order about 80% using the traditional enquiry, offer and order method. That’s mainly because most providers do not have an online shop.

What is important for you when selecting an online partner in the supply chain system?


A fast website and a fast ordering process as well as transparency and the availability of personal contact.

What do you like about APSOparts?


We like the very good service based on personal contact. That makes APSOparts something special.

How do you see future of digitalisation?


Key aspects are definitely fast processing, price transparency, low prices due to strong competition. However, this will increase the pressure to deliver faster. Fewer qualified employees will be needed. Jobs will be lost due to automatisation. This will save costs and will make Germany, as a place of business, a more interesting prospect. Many companies will move their business base back to Germany.

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Interview with Bruno Brändli, workshop manager of Greuter AG, Hochfelden, Switzerland

Greuter AG provides wide-ranging specialist civil engineering services and end-to-end solutions, all under one roof. Innovative solutions and a modern machinery/equipment pool provide an excellent basis for flexible implementation of simple to complex projects in specialist civil engineering, tunnel renovation and crash barriers.

Since when have you ordered online from APSOparts?


I have been ordering from APSOparts for 8 years now.

Have the ordering processes become any easier for you since digitalisation and introduction of the new system?  


Yes, you are less dependent on the ordering times, that is, you can order outside of office hours. That has given us significantly more flexibility.

Are there other benefits for your day-to-day work?


When you place an order online, you have immediate access to the latest prices and availability, which makes planning and calculation much easier.


Do you find you are ordering more online than by the classic telephone/email methods?


I order about 80% online, that is, the standard products and about 20% by telephone/email, that is, the customer-specific products.

What is important for you when selecting an online partner in the supply chain system?


It is important to me that an online partner has quick delivery times and high stock availability as we generally need the products to repair and maintain our machinery pool.

What do you like about APSOparts?


APSOparts offers all the benefits of online ordering and in addition personal consultation. In addition, you are always sent information about the order by email and always receive an order confirmation email.


How do you see future of digitalisation?


In the future, we will not be able to function without the digitalised processes. Unfortunately, we will, of course, lose a bit of the personal contact.