STORY

Strong partnership, heavy machinery

British manufacturer of moulded SMC components, Mitras, has been supplying Europe’s automotive, truck and off-highway companies for over 30 years now. Since 2013, Mitras has been working in partnership with SOLVARO, who provide industrial components made of perforated metal. Following the successful audit of the SOLVARO production facilities, the companies have embarked upon their first joint project: a wheel loader hood for one of the leading manufacturers of construction machinery. We talked to Peter Garvey, Key Account Manager at SOLVARO, about the challenges and opportunities this cooperation brings about. 

Peter, would you agree that the buying strategy of manufacturers of agricultural and construction machinery is continuing to move in the direction of modules rather than single parts?

Absolutely! We are seeing an increasing tendency towards the procurement of entire modules. And this trend is causing the relationship between the customer and supplier to evolve too. Partnerships are being formed that involve tier one and two suppliers working closely together – as in the case of our collaboration with Mitras. What’s more, the development work undertaken by suppliers is becoming increasingly important as far as end customers are concerned.

So would you say that you have experienced an increase in demand for engineering support when it comes to developing individual solutions for your clients?

That’s exactly it. Here at SOLVARO, development work is now undertaken for 90% of our orders. This is a huge figure when you consider that it was still in single digits back in 2006. Our partnership with Mitras is an excellent example of joint development projects. The wheel loader project started with a new grille design from the customer. Our developers joined forces with Mitras to create five formed parts. The parts were given a perforation with a 3.96 round hole and 4.76 pitch, achieving an open area of 63%.

Staying on the topic, what are the key advantages your partnership with Mitras offers the customer?

Our close collaboration with Mitras allows them to procure a complete module from a single source, yet still draw on the expertise and production technologies of two separate companies behind the scenes. In order for everything to go smoothly during joint projects between tier one and two suppliers, the collective development work needs to be optimised and it is also crucial that workflows at the series production stage are efficient and well coordinated. This is where our international Sales team steps in. So that Mitras is not relying on us to determine its rate of production, parts are delivered on a consignment stock basis.

Thinking ahead, what do you think will make your partnership with Mitras a success in future?

In my opinion, an important part of our partnership is offering our support right from the point when Mitras receives requests for new projects directly from OEMs. This means that we assume our role as contact partner well before Mitras actually starts working on something. We begin pooling our time and expertise at the quote generation stage, getting involved in the technical side of things as well as the sums right from the word go. It is equally important that both sides continue to show the same level of commitment and dedication once contracts have been won.  

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