A high level of vertical integration means that the company itself produces the majority of the components required for the final product. Deciding between in-house production and external procurement (make or buy) is always a matter of careful consideration.
In our interview, Volker Dierk (Manager Production Control) and Dirk Deppe (Foreman mechanical Production) describe the reasons for BERG’s high rate of in-house production and the advantages resulting from this choice.
Dirk: Our level of vertical integration allows us to respond spontaneously and flexibly to customer demand. It means that we have the option of reacting to changed specifications in the production process. Moreover, we can assess at any time whether a planned process is in line with our quality requirements and capacities. This allows us to maintain direct control of our production process and our expertise remains in-house. In addition, we’re less dependent on suppliers, for whom shortages may occur for a variety of reasons.
Volker: We have outsourced simple work such as rough machining and drilling of raw parts. More complex, highly precise processes, meaning practically all finishing work in the turning, milling and grinding segment, are performed in-house. We are set up exceptionally well for workpiece machining. Really, there’s nothing we can’t do. On the other hand, all steps related to surface and heat treatment, e. g. hardening and coating processes, are outsourced.
Volker: The challenge is quite clearly to produce highly precise workpieces that meet our and our customers’ quality expectations day after day. It is crucial to ensure accuracy, particularly when producing clamping systems. BERG products are usually high-precision custom-made products. This means that the parts have to be accurate down to the micrometre even after mechanical heat and surface treatment.
Dirk: Because we have mastered many disciplines, the required investments are relatively high. We run our machinery accordingly and of course, that means frequent modernisation and adaptation. In addition, we have maintenance contracts with the manufacturers. Preventative maintenance is performed at regular intervals to prevent failures before they can occur. When there’s a problem, we have to react immediately. In addition to constant care by our own employees, an external service provider performs monthly cleaning work.
Dirk: Not a single day passes without bringing some unplanned event – be it with regard to our staff or our work. These small and large challenges that have to be overcome every day make this job varied and interesting. When you have worked as a foreman for over 30 years, you put your heart and soul into your work and identify fully with your company, in particular because of the great working atmosphere.
Volker: Admittedly, it is a huge challenge to complete our products on time and in the required quality, even under a high degree of capacity utilisation, deadline constraints or in the face of other adversities – this is only possible with the help and support of the entire team. In the end, it is always about customer satisfaction, the associated continuation of BERG as an employer and securing the livelihood of the employees and their families. These three things are what motivates and drives me in particular.