As a global leader in wire, cable, pipe and tube production technologies, Maillefer offers over 50 technologies and the widest service portfolio in the industry covering around 20 applications. Maillefer strives to support its customers in everything from efficiency planning to executing complete manufacturing facilities, and by bringing the level of operation to new heights.
Its new 1,500 m2 R&D and technology centre in Finland is at the heart of Maillefer’s innovation process. The centre also aims at providing a solid platform for strengthened customer partnerships, where visiting customers develop customised solutions and receive training on full-scale equipment.
Maillefer’s new technology showroom is equipped with a pilot-scale vertical extrusion group for medium and high voltage cable production. It has the added capacity for producing real test samples. Other key pieces of equipment include the optical and low voltage wire manufacturing lines, clean room facilities and material purity control lines.
The Wire and Cable India team (WCI) recently had a face-to-face interview with Mr. Juha Hiltunen, Director – Sales & Marketing, Wire & Cable Business, Maillefer Extrusion Oy, in order to better understand the company’s new market concept and the state-of-the-art solutions it delivers to its customers.
Here are some revealing excerpts from this interview.
WCI: What is the reason behind the new logo?
Juha Hiltunen (JH): We are talking about a new market concept. Our new logo, the new color of the machines, and the new visual look are just one part. True, it is an important part but it only represents the surface of a much deeper change. That change is the implementation of value-based selling, where we place the priority on how we listen to our customers.
With a classic supplier mindset, you begin with a predetermined set of customer needs according to a given kind of equipment. Then when discussions begin, where the customer expresses needs beyond those expected, you risk a mismatch and giving them something else. So, you’re off the mark completely when not carefully listening to customers at the start.
The new concept places the ability to listen to our customers up front. This keeps us open to gaining a more accurate understanding of true requirements. Quite often customers are not able to specify exactly what they need in ways that we are familiar with. They have something in mind but they need help to formulate it. So you have to work closely together in order to translate actual needs into requirements. Only then can we deliver value accordingly.
Value must be sustainable and backed up by figures. We have set the goal to prepare examples for use in all discussions. Figures and calculations confirm the value that a specific solution can deliver.
We have certain calculation tools that can be configured during discussions with the numbers from a customer’s own situation. One series of calculation tools are for CV lines. We have various innovations in this area that provide value to the customer. You can for example, calculate the potential increase in line speed based on a certain mix of cable types.
WCI: You focus on what you refer to as “best value for different capacities and budgets.” Please elaborate.
JH: In rapidly changing markets, the means to increase the value of business can take many forms. Low total cost of ownership is a must in mature markets, and significant cost reductions can be achieved in various ways. In some situations, the adaptability of an existing production solution gives an edge against competitors. Other times, it comes down to the product mix and the order in which product types are changed. Competitiveness can also be enhanced by optimizing capacity and maintenance requirements. These various forms give us the boost to renew our offering. We want to offer solutions that make a significant difference to the local market.
To better answer the diverse needs of wire & cable and pipe & tube manufacturers worldwide, our portfolio is organised into three different levels of production solutions. These solutions vary in capacity, cost, automation, flexibility, product range, space requirements and maintenance needs.
There is a perfect design for each market situation – you can find the winning production solution in low-end as well as in high-end categories in almost 20 applications. All solutions are designed under the strictest Maillefer quality standards and with good upgradability in mind. At every level, putting together the best technical fit for the customer’s investment realities has been the core driver.
Forecasting of market demand gets harder every day. Fast urbanisation and the interconnectedness of the world challenge the effectiveness of production solutions. With us, you can choose from three different solution levels without compromising the availability or quality of your production. If you want to enhance your operations further, the widest services offering on the global market is available through us.
Our technologies guarantee excellent centricity and high stability for your products. Our state-of-the-art extruders and crossheads are designed to save material and minimise scrap across your production. We have also addressed labour efficiency throughout.
Purity and smoothness in layers are in the core of our solutions across applications. With us, you can deliver more durable products that are easy to install and safe to employ. We believe that quality is the corner stone of future business and should not be compromised at any budget level.
In addition, our R&D department continuously aims at lowering consumption of energy and material in production. We have designed production processes so that any byproducts are systematically collected along the production flow.
WCI: Describe the differences between your three levels of solutions.
JH: Our new market concept includes three solution levels, namely /Enter, //Extend and ///Explore. The concept improves our possibilities to serve wire & cable and pipe & tube manufacturers with different capacity needs and investment budgets. The starting point of the concept development was to build a portfolio that gives manufacturers more choices to meet the market demands without compromising product quality.
Customers decide on the value as the starting point. They choose between the aforesaid levels according to their requirements.
We have plenty of offerings at all three levels. Let me briefly tell you about them. /Enter is a compact quality solution for more sustainable production. It is ideal for those seeking an affordable investment that is easy to start and maintain in different production environments. As examples, we have MXI 150, extruder with 300 kg/h output for MV cable production – part of EPL 30/Enter; and EKP 8, automatic dual take-up for LV wire production – part of EEL 20/Enter.
//Extend is a lean and proven production solution for changing market needs. Its good upgradability and versatile product range guarantee a technical fit for the future. At this level, we have for eg. DHR 130, dual-layer crosshead for versatile rubber cable production – part of EPL 20//Extend.
///Explore is the royal road to demanding delivery with the lowest total cost of ownership. It is a high output solution to explore the machine in the front row. At this level, we have, among others CCA 1000, high-speed compression caterpillar for the fibre optic cable production – part of OEL 40///Explore.
WCI: What are your views on the Indian wire and cable industry?
JH: I visited India last November and spent a week there, visiting many customers. The Indian cable market has been struggling for the last couple of years. Because of political uncertainty they have stayed away from making investments. But the situation is changing. India’s potential is huge; it’s incredible.
Right now, everybody seems to be waiting for the elections. I expect the market to pick up afterwards. I already notice the willingness of Indian customers to invest again and they will soon start – that’s for sure. It’s difficult to say when exactly, but they may start in the next six to twelve months.
WCI: What kind of presence does Maillefer have on the Indian market?
JH: We have long been active in India. The Maillefer office is in Mumbai, where the sales and service team serves both wire & cable and pipe & tube businesses. Our presence will continue as we see much potential in this country.
WCI: How do you intend to bring value to Indian cable companies? Will you be doing this exercise by providing them with good solutions and technology?
JH: To the Indian customer, I say that we seriously see development in services. We’ve developed new services in wire & cable industry and believe that this new structure is value-based selling. The new services are appreciable.
We recognise the importance of people in making a company function successfully. Our customer service solutions have been developed to take this into account. We’d like to help your staff to be well prepared to face various situations when operating and maintaining equipment. Making an investment in capital goods represents a certain amount of risk. New equipment brings with it the unfamiliar and the unexpected. Yet it also holds great promise when placed in ready and able hands.
We are the technology and quality leader in our field. We provide not only different levels of technology, but also dedicated lifecycle support for customer investment.
Your competitiveness is one of our main priorities. By building cooperation through a Service Level Agreement (SLA), you choose the most uncomplicated way to sustain that competitiveness. Maillefer provides you with full coverage of predefined support and maintenance services. We are able to identify problems early on with our service experts and our global competence network.
Cooperation under the SLA significantly limits the consequences of an outage. The amount of unknown process mistakes and machinery malfunctions are reduced. Your day-to-day operation is assured and your business can be developed fully. You can rely on us to have your assets function at the optimal level across their lifetime.
WCI: How do you keep your promises towards your customers?
JH: During an unexpected breakdown, direct access to technical support can save the day. In addition, agreed response and intervention times help you plan other corrective measures. Most importantly, an SLA helps get you back up and running as soon as possible!
Maillefer’s SLA is a great tool when you want regular care for the best product. Our target is to establish both the availability and the productivity of your equipment. This way, you can reach the lowest total cost of ownership and seek out great opportunities.
WCI: Do you have any plans for visiting India soon?
JH: I’m looking forward to meeting all of our customers in India this coming October at the Wire & Cable India exhibition. It will be an excellent moment to find out how they are taking to our new market concept.