Tailor-made applications – tailor-made solutions from ODU
An interview with:
Thomas Neuburger – Application Manager and
Stefan Seibuchner – Design Engineer at ODU GmbH & Co. KG
For many customers, standard switching solutions are not an option. And not all products are included in the standard range or listed in catalogs. Specific project requirements demand tailor-made solutions. Often, at the beginning of the product development process or a specific project, the respective parameters are not yet fully defined. Cooperation between customer and supplier is therefore necessary to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. ODU makes this possible through tailor-made solutions and an open exchange of ideas.
What happens at the first meeting with the customer?
Ideally, before the first consultation with the customer, we have already received their basic requirements for the contacts. This allows us to create a rough concept for the initial meeting. It is often useful to discuss possible solutions based on an existing link. Ideas are generated and concepts developed through interdisciplinary collaboration, with the Product Design Center and Application Center working hand in hand.
Is it possible to create a tailor-made bespoke solution for every customer?
Due to our vertical range of manufacturing and experience, we try to develop the best possible solution for each customer. However, customer requirements must be matched with technical feasibility. This often presents us with challenges. Therefore, we try to work directly with our clients’ project stakeholders and technicians. We discuss specific opportunities and requests with those concerned and create implementation opportunities for both parties.
What are the conditions for this process?
Apart from technical feasibility, the project must be appealing to both sides. We will not satisfy our customers by putting a lot of effort into a highly customized solution – the cost-benefit ratio must of course be maintained. Producing a small quantity at a very high price does not make sense.
What are the main challenges of tailor-made solutions?
Like us, our customers operate in a very dynamic market. Technological changes, new requirements, shorter product life cycles and increased competition are just some of the key characteristics. It is therefore necessary to develop appropriate and technically feasible solutions in the shortest possible timeframe. In addition, the resulting solution must also be attractive from an economic point of view. The task is to reconcile the different objectives – which is not always easy.
We mentioned technical feasibility earlier – what needs to be considered here?
Especially with complex requests, the technical feasibility cannot always be confirmed from the beginning. In these cases, in addition to the theoretical considerations, we try to validate critical sub-functions at an early stage using initial functional tests. For this purpose, we can quickly and easily fall back on our prototyping and, for example, 3D printing. This allows us to point out possible complications and react accordingly.
You have an application center that serves as an interface. Why is this interface so important?
The application center is the contact point for technical customer support. As a first step, we check whether our special connector portfolio already contains an existing solution or whether there is a reasonable business case for a tailor-made solution. If we choose a tailor-made solution, we define a project where our Application Manager also acts as project manager.
To what extent is customer engagement and working in partnership important?
They are indispensable; projects only succeed or fail together. Every single cog in the process and every person involved in the project is crucial to its collective success. Everyone is equally important. We all have a common goal and that is what we are working towards. Changes or problems can occur on the customer side and the better the cooperation, the easier it is to find solutions and make adjustments.
What makes ODU stand out here?
Our high vertical range of production is what sets us apart. This reduces the number of subcontractors and thus lead times. Direct contact with the customer, especially when it comes to finding technical solutions, allows us to better understand and consolidate requirements. A wide portfolio of different connections, the associated experience, and the ability to flexibly choose between different solutions, that’s what ODU stands for.
ODU Group: global representation with perfect connections
The ODU Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of connection systems, with 2,500 employees around the world. In addition to the company’s headquarters in Muehldorf a. Inn (Germany), ODU also has an international distribution network and production facilities in Sibiu/Romania, Shanghai/China and Tijuana/Mexico. ODU combines all relevant areas of expertise and key technologies including design and development, machine tools and special machine construction, injection, stamping, turning, surface technology, assembly and cable assembly. The ODU Group sells its products globally through its sales offices in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Sweden, the UK and the USA, as well as through a number of international sales partners. ODU connectors ensure the reliable transmission of power, signals, data, and media for a variety of demanding applications, including medical technology, military and security, automotive, industrial electronics, and test and measurement.