Currently, the Verl-based automation specialist is producing at full capacity with a constant order intake. “We do not intend to implement short-time work for our employees or other production cuts,” reports managing owner Hans Beckhoff, adding: “We can complete all customer orders with largely normal delivery times. The basis for this production reliability is the company's foresighted long-term warehouse planning, which stocks both raw materials and finished goods for a total of about six months. “This means that fluctuations in the supply chain have little effect on us,” continues Hans Beckhoff.
In addition to the smooth running of production, the global logistics network is also an important aspect for supply capability. The delivery of Beckhoff products via parcel services and freight forwarders in Germany and the EU area proceeds without disruptions. Only the remaining border controls in some countries may cause short delays of up to one day. Air freight capacities are lower due to the current situation, as many machines remain on the ground and there are generally fewer departures. However, the company has not experienced any significant disruptions in this area either. “We can deliver regularly and very reliably to almost all countries, including China, the USA, India and Israel, for example,” continues Hans Beckhoff.
The Beckhoff developers and specialists continue to work on new products and customer applications without restrictions even during the Covid-19 phase. Varied exhibitions around the world are an important sales channel for the company's innovations. “Automation UpDates”, i.e. customer seminars with different product and technology focuses, have also established themselves as important platforms for many years. The same applies to specific industry events. Since all three formats are currently unavailable due to the high risk of infection, Beckhoff is focusing on alternative ways of providing its customers with digital access and information on new products.
“As usual, we try to provide our customers with the best and most comprehensive support possible,” reports Hans Beckhoff. He adds: "The dialogue between our engineers and the engineers at the customer's site is essential for successful automation projects. To this end, we naturally rely on various digital communication channels, which are constantly developing further and positively, both internally and externally". In order to stay in touch with customers via personal technical discussions by phone or video, newsletter or e-mail correspondence and to convey important know-how, the company's product and technology experts offer various webinars. Individual technology demonstrations and customer presentations on special requirements are also possible.
In order to protect its employees and customers, Beckhoff continues to rely on comprehensive hygiene measures and a two-shift system in production that is separated in space and time. In addition, 80 percent of the employees from the administration and engineering departments in Germany will continue to work at home for the next two weeks. “After that, we will decide whether there will be a gradual return to the workplace,” says Hans Beckhoff. Furthermore, the company's comprehensive security concept, which provides immediate observation quarantine for suspicious cases, is also taking effect. There are various protective quarantine regulations for employees who belong to a health risk group. “Fortunately, we have been able to prevent infections within the company so far,” says Hans Beckhoff.