Afterword: ExpertsBrunch – Become an AVL / TDK supplier – We show how it’s done.

Afterword: ExpertsBrunch – Become an AVL / TDK supplier – We show how it’s done.

At the last Silicon Alps event of the year 2017, interested company representatives came to the Hotel Wiesler in Graz on 13 December to learn more about the development of supplier relations at EPCOS OHG and AVL List GmbH and the background of the company Ortner Reinraumtechnik GmbH.

Dr Erich Pinter, Strategic Purchaser for Raw Materials, and chartered engineer Dina Obermair, Supplier Quality Manager, spoke in detail about the admission process for new suppliers at EPCOS.

In accordance with the slogan above, Dr Pinter and Ms Obermair reported on the ways of getting in contact, the necessity of providing precise information in the supplier self-disclosure, and stipulation of further steps, which include an offer, samples ordering and specification sheets as well as conditions for price, delivery and payment. The supplier will only be approved after the potential company is positively evaluated and has passed the audit. They also provided insight into the quality assurance agreement to be concluded between EPCOS and the suppliers, and the annual audit programme. It assesses all suppliers, identifies suppliers with quality problems and selects new suppliers. The results of the audits are communicated to the suppliers and, if necessary, actions to improve or strengthen performance are requested. Dina Obermair summarised the expectations of EPCOS towards its suppliers as follows: “The essentials are a fundamental pursuit of a zero-defect strategy, willingness to continually improve, precise reading or exact knowledge of the contracts and specifications, compliance with the stipulated deadlines and the willingness to get in touch with any questions arising.” Overall, the impression was given that EPCOS was open to potential companies and that good communication during the admission process was highly appreciated.

Dr Haring of AVL List GmbH highlighted another aspect of supplier relations, namely that there are many requirements for AVL products and services which must consequently also be met by the supplier companies.

“There are demands from customers and society on the economy and thus on AVL.”

A global company such as AVL must contend with, for example, country-specific legal provisions such as customs or safety regulations, material certifications or export and import restrictions, but also geopolitical stipulations such as environmental protection regulations, chemicals ordinances, disposal laws or worker protection regulations. Mr Haring spoke about RoHS compliance, conflict minerals compliance and the REACH agreement. This demands great adaptability and flexibility from AVL and its suppliers.

AVL as its own web portal where interested suppliers can register and it organises an annual “supplier day”. The “Creators Expedition” startup initiative gives young, innovative companies the opportunity to work with AVL in areas such as autonomous driving or e-mobility.

Josef Ortner reported on his personal experiences setting up the company Ortner Reinraumtechnik GmbH. Originally founded in 1985 as an installation company for ventilation and air conditioning systems, during its history the company has specialised in the planning and furnishing of complex clean rooms including all infrastructure systems.

With increasing competition and the realisation that clean room technology is a cross-sectional technology that offers many development opportunities, the company developed from an installation company towards apparatus construction using specific procedures. “In 30 years, we have experimented, developed, researched and dealt with topics that were too difficult or too annoying for some others,” says Josef Ortner. Today, Ortner Reinraumtechnik is one of the leading clean room technology companies in Europe, it also operates in America, Asia and Australia and has around 130 employees. Ortner develops standardised systems for international market growth and offers complex system integration in clean room environments. In addition, it offers services in the areas of decontamination, engineering, etc. The company is a trendsetter and a highly sought-after co-creator. From the very beginning, there has been cooperation with research institutions and universities, which has influenced and driven technology development at Ortner. Josef Ortner also emphasised the importance of establishing contacts and networking within his own industry and with cluster organisations such as Silicon Alps. Ortner Reinraumtechnik has won many awards, including the Fraunhofer IPA Reinheitstechnik Clean! prize in 2015 and the WKO’s ECONOVIUS 2016 special award. Asked about his credo for the coming years, Josef Ortner answered in an interview when he was presented with 1st place in the Carinthian KWF Innovation and Research Award in 2015:

“If we find something out, we always see a chance to make more of the discovery.”

The three lectures were followed by a lively discussion with the audience. During the subsequent get-together, there was again ample opportunity to network and make connections.



Supplier development at EPCOS, Dina Obermair and Dr Erich Pinter

Supplier relations at AVL, Dr Christian Haring

Success story of the Ortner Group, Josef Ortner