von links:

A milestone in the partnership: RTS Electronic receives the “Best Partner Award 2023”

On April 12, 2024, a significant milestone was celebrated in the almost 20-year partnership between RTS Electronic and W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH. The presentation of the “Best Partner Awards 2023” in the “Independent Distributor” category marked not only an award for outstanding performance, but also many years of cooperation characterized by mutual trust and a pursuit of excellence.

Hendrick Kaspers, Head of Purchasing, and Lisa Lürsen, Purchasing Manager, personally presented the coveted award at our premises in Waltrop. We took this opportunity to conduct an interview with Mr. Kaspers about the partnership and future prospects.

So let’s take a look together at the developments that are driving this partnership forward.

Hello Mr. Kaspers, thank you very much for your time. We look forward to learning more about the successful partnership between W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH and RTS Electronic, which has led to the “Best Partner Award 2023”.

Mr. Kaspers, in your email for the Best Supplier Award 2023, you emphasized the excellent job done by RTS Electronic as an A-supplier. Could you elaborate on what specific actions or initiatives by RTS have helped to achieve this recognition?

H. Kaspers: RTS Electronic is not just a supplier number. RTS stands for partnership & humanity. In particular, the focus on the customer and the solution-oriented cooperation led to the Best Supplier Award 2023. No matter how difficult the path may seem at times, RTS has always followed this path in order to support us as W. Kolb and to supply us with the necessary electronic components. We are not satisfied with anything more than 100%, and that is exactly how RTS Electronic lives it. All these attributes have led to RTS Electronic achieving the best score of all evaluated suppliers as an A-supplier.

The close partnership between Kolb and RTS Electronic has obviously led to a successful supplier-customer relationship. Could you give us some specific examples of joint projects or solutions that have strengthened this partnership?

H. Kaspers: There is no specific project to name, as there have been countless in the 20 years of collaboration. The cooperation goes far beyond the actual supply of components. Among other things, RTS Electronic employees regularly visit our production facilities to understand what happens after the components are actually delivered. Why, for example, roll goods can be more advantageous than bar goods. This leads to a continuous improvement in cooperation and a greater understanding of each other’s processes. RTS Electronic and W. Kolb also work together perfectly in the area of EDI, so that internal processes can run efficiently. This mutual trust will definitely lead to many more joint projects.

You also mention that your company is continuously investing in the latest technologies and optimizing and digitalizing its processes.what concrete measures have you taken to implement these technological advances?

H. Kaspers: “To get started, it is necessary to stop talking and start acting” – Walt Disney. At Kolb, we rely on advanced technologies and digital processes. We are driven by the continuous development of our processes – because standing still is a step backwards. Our production works completely digitally via tablets for documentation in real time. Kolb does not use paper production folders. Our processes are monitored by software and can be analyzed at short notice at any time. In this way, we can also implement CIP – continuous improvement process. But we also use modern technologies such as EDI or API interfaces in purchasing and use our various report managers for our own processes. This is how our new supplier evaluation was created, which can be called up at the touch of a button within an analysis software in a matter of seconds with many key figures and further information on a supplier. These examples show that Kolb is investing a great deal in digitalization and modern processes – creating added value for its customers and partners.

For us at RTS Electronic, training and continuous further training play an important role in ensuring qualified personnel. How does W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH invest in the training and development of its employees, particularly in view of the rapid demographic change in the manufacturing and electronics industry?

H. Kaspers: We have been breaking new ground in the area of personnel marketing since this year. Videos were filmed with selected employees and have recently been broadcast on social media such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and also on the career portal Linked-in. The target groups use these media on a daily basis, and this is where we will place our job advertisements online in future to find new and suitable employees and trainees. The search for good personnel is becoming increasingly difficult and the path must be redefined.

On the subject of further development: as a company, we are constantly training employees as well as apprentices in various areas. Some of this takes place in external training and coaching sessions, but Kolb’s managers are also responsible for the further training of individual employees and teams. A healthy mix is very important here, because the focus on our processes must not be neglected. For example, we have set up a self-developed coaching program on self-confidence in Purchasing and have already used more appointments here for further development.

Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect in the manufacturing industry. Can you explain to us how sustainability principles are integrated into supplier relationships at Kolb?

H. Kaspers: The issue of sustainability is also becoming increasingly important, and Kolb has taken on the responsibility of protecting our environment and promoting sustainability. We are already using green electricity from Norway for our e-cars and hybrids. We already have almost paperless production today and will continue along this path in the coming years. We also work a lot with regional partners – using returnable and reusable packaging. In the future, a solar system will be installed on the company building – the plans for implementation are currently underway. The recycling of cardboard and waste paper is also a daily topic and is practiced by the entire company. Kolb is aware that the topic of sustainability will have a major impact in the future and is also facing up to these challenges.

In view of the continuous development in electronics production and the changing framework conditions, how does W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH plan to expand its successful cooperation with suppliers such as RTS Electronic in the future?

H. Kaspers: In the last two years, the entire electronics industry has been faced with major challenges due to the allocation. Huge additional costs, postponed deadlines, price increases and many other issues have presented the purchasing teams of many EMS service providers with enormous challenges. In these times, we can rely on RTS as a dependable partner and tackle the challenges together. The next allocation is already casting its shadow ahead and the electronics industry will face another difficult period. As part of this, we will push ahead with the topic of “second source”, for example, and have secured goods at RTS. In addition, there will continue to be a partnership-based exchange of information and market news in order to make the right decisions at an early stage. And the independence of RTS from franchise distribution also helps us to implement our customer wishes and requirements.

Thank you very much for your time and the valuable insights you have given us into the successful customer-supplier relationship between W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH and RTS Electronic. We appreciate your openness and look forward to deepening our collaboration and tackling future challenges together.

Also take a look at the article by W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH!