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Always ready to deliver at Heilind

2nd September 2020
Alex Lynn

Marko Elstermann, Manager – Logistics, Purchasing & Value-Added Services, at specialist distributor Heilind, is always ready to take on responsibility. As a commercial specialist, he has gained extensive experience in sales, IT, purchasing and, since 2003, logistics. He has completed further training, restructured a company and now heads the purchase, logistics and value-added services area at Heilind. Here Elstermann talks about what it is like at Heilind, and how the company can help its customers.

Two things matter for electronics developers: components must be in stock and same-day delivery. That is what we ensure at Heilind in the interest of our customers. At the specialised distributor for connectors and electromechanical components, I am responsible for purchasing, logistics and value- added services.

We currently stock more than 32,000 items from more than 50 leading manufacturers. We ship 98 per cent of all orders that we receive before 4pm the same day.  But that’s not the only thing we are good at. We are capable of shipping at any time - even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so in such an unusual situation, a strong logistical base is required. In addition, internal processes need to be interlocked, which is something we have optimised in recent years.

In my opinion, positive business development is based on five core pillars. To begin with, it is not enough simply to stock as many items as possible. They need to be the right ones. The market is challenging to manage for developers looking for a component. That is why we set up a product marketing team at Heilind. Every key product line is specifically supported by a product manager. In this way, we can offer our customers extensive expertise and provide them with the best products for their project.

Our shipping philosophy is the second aspect. We offer small quantities from one single piece. The usual minimum quantities are particularly uneconomical for medium-sized companies. This is why we break up packaging units or, if necessary, separate even the smallest quantities from a contact roll. This pays off, because we want to grow with our customers in the long term.

Thirdly, we look at customer demand and place particular focus on value-added services. We produce and assemble customised connectors in our own facility under manufacturer’s licence within two days and then ship them. In addition, we also create complete component sets for production at the customer’s facilities based on parts lists. Ready-made accessories are a further example. These include connectors, contacts and seals for delivery directly to the production line.

The fourth aspect is our relationship with our product partners. We started with 20 lines and have added products from more than 50 manufacturers in the meantime. We especially value close, collaborative relationships. This way, we become aware of trends and can anticipate new demand patterns at the earliest possible opportunity. As a result, we also have access to each manufacturer’s own experts.  

Fifth, the framework for all of this is our distinctive values ​​as a family business. We don’t act according to shareholders’ value specifications or quarterly profit targets. Instead, we  focus on long-term customer relationships and traditional values such as reliability, loyalty, respect and personal contact with customers and manufacturers.

We have to overcome new obstacles every day in order to maintain our market position and sector-leading delivery capacity. My task here is always to oversee the flow of all information and goods, to identify any process problems, unclear areas of responsibility and error sources, and so make the internal workflow as efficient as possible. We have interlinked our departments and branches more closely and invested a lot in the know-how of our teams. In this way, we can serve our customers with rapid, personalised service and the most suitable products.

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