A significant period of investment over recent years has seen Puehl GmbH & Co KG completely restructure its organisation, as well as invest in its warehouse capabilities and a completely new fully integrated ERP system. Editor Will Lowry visited the company’s headquarters in Plettenberg, Germany, to speak to CEO Joachim Rohwedder about how the developments will benefit customers.
Since it was founded in 1897 Puehl has been a stamping manufacturer that stands for flexibility, reliability and quality. “We are proud to be a stable family business – now in its fourth generation –that produces a wide variety of standard and special stamping parts,” states Joachim Rohwedder. “Through our know-how and experience, passed down from generation to generation, we are able to stay at the forefront of the industry.”
Worldwide Puehl is one of the largest manufacturers of standard and non-standard washers and can also design and manufacture special parts according to drawings or samples. “Thanks to our state of the art high performance press machines – with forces from 125 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes – we can produce a wide range of parts to the highest standards,” points out Joachim Rohwedder. “Our site covers a total area of 30,000m2 and we can produce more than 100 tonnes of standard and special parts every day.”
Since 2015 Puehl has invested heavily in its business to enable it to continue to meet the ever-growing requirements and demands of its customers. “The needs of the customers are getting faster every day and we realised that to meet these needs we had to invest across the business and streamline our processes,” says Joachim Rohwedder. “For the last two years we have introduced more fixed, safe and stable processes across the entire business – from the production floor to the sales team. We have also optimised procedures and simplified responsibilities to help us become more effective as a business.”
One of the biggest tasks for Puehl was completely changing its ERP system to a fully integrated one. “Previously we had an old-fashioned ERP system, where we were heavily paper based,” mentions Joachim Rohwedder. “Creating an overview of the company was not easy and we found customers were requesting more information and details that were difficult to group together. We recognised we needed a fully integrated system that would give us good information flow throughout the business, as well as an overview of the company. This would help us to provide quick and clear information to customers as and when they needed it.”
Another benefit of the new ERP system is that it assists Puehl in improving the processes in its quality management, as it can track parts throughout the entire production process. “Introducing the ERP system was a time-consuming process, but it was vital to allow us to efficiently handle the volume of products and orders we work with every day. Now the system is fully installed, we are able to fine tune it to ensure we are maximising its benefit. To increase our service level, we will also look to provide an EDI connection, which will make the business with our customers even more efficient in the future.”
In addition to its ERP system, Puehl also invested in its storage capacity so it is able to stock a wider range of products and can deliver to customers in a very short time frame. “We can now store more than 6,000 pallet spaces and over 1,300 production bins,” points out Joachim Rohwedder. “This means we can supply a wide range of products from stock and also store semi-finished parts that just need to be galvanised, hardened and packed according to customers’ specifications.”
Joachim Rohwedder continues: “Price and quality are always two of the key factors for customers, but just as important is availability of stock and delivery. By increasing our stock, we can answer customers’ needs very quickly and provide fast delivery. This puts us in a very strong position within the market. We have been closely monitoring our delivery performance over the last 12 months and we are receiving positive feedback from our customers. This confirms we are following the correct strategy and we will continue to invest in our stock so we can answer all our customers’ needs.”
A lot of Puehl’s stock capacity is designated for frame and consignment orders, where it can hold the products for customers and deliver as and when needed. “Rather than customers having to expand their own storage or have money tied up in stock, we can store the products for them and deliver them in a short time frame,” mentions Joachim Rohwedder. “With a frame order, customers can have the quantity they want, at the time they want. We can be a stockholder for them.”
Other investments by the company include in its tool machine shop, where it has added employees and is instilling a higher skill competence within the department. “Without the correct tools, a machine does not work efficiently,” states Joachim Rohwedder. “That is why we have added some experience and knowledge within the tool shop to support the production, which has been very positive. Our tool shop works in two shifts, so we always have somebody that is able to support the machinery if we have any problem with the tooling.”
Puehl has also introduced a new testing press that gives it additional prototyping options for testing tooling before products go into production. “Having this prototype capability within the business is a very big plus for us. We have a specialised area to work on prototypes and test samples with customers, which helps us find the optimal solution.”
Whilst the company is looking to develop the special parts sector, it is still committed to its core business. “We are a washer producer, for a whole range of standard parts. We do not want to leave our roots, and we are committed to this market, but we are looking to generate new business,” explains Joachim Rohwedder. “There are other markets we are currently targeting, such as the automotive supplier industry, and we are planning to develop in these sectors in the future. We can produce a wide range of products, it doesn’t have to be ‘round with a hole in it’, so there is a lot of opportunities for us.”
Puehl will be exhibiting at the upcoming Fastener Fair Stuttgart show and is keen to talk to both new and existing customers about the developments at the company over the last few years. “We have a new logo, new structure, and new way of business, and we want to let all our customers know about our improved capabilities. Behind every working step we now have a secure process that guarantees the goods will leave in the right quality, at the right time, with traceability throughout the entire production process. Through our flexibility and ability to react to decisions and demands from the market we can be a reliable partner for our customers.”
Find Puehl at Fastener Fair Stuttgart on Stand 1.622
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 10 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.