For those in the industry who are unaware of Ostermann and its products and services, the German firm has a UK operation providing a impressive range of edgings, delivered next day from stock in lengths from one metre. And this is all backed by first-class customer service ethos from a business set up in the UK in 2010.
The company sets its stall out with edgings in a most professional manner. There is a fully-staffed operation with regional sales advisors and account managers based in Droitwich plus two technical sales advisors permanently on the road who have worked in the industry and used all the edgebanding equipment for many years. Ostermann UK MD Stephen Parsons says this enables the company to offer sound, practical advice to customers that actually works.
The set up in Droitwich is impressive: there is a dedicated showroom presenting the currently-available edgings and there is also a small demonstration area, where edgings can be applied to boards using hand-held machines - which Ostermann sells. There is also a range of mock-ups of handle profiles as well the company's impressive technical profiles. The fully-racked warehouse is efficiently laid out with well-maintained product levels in order to deliver on the Ostermann next-day service operation.
This level of service, allied with tremendous product innovation is somewhat of an anomoly in the UK trade which, at times, and in certain marketplaces, seems to be focussed almost entirely on price above all else. So how does Ostermann UK feel about that type of trading environment?
Stephen says that the pedigree of the business is largely down to the German parent firm. “We have a stable, respected headquarters in Germany, headed by Dagmar Daxenberger,” says Stephen, “where there is constant investment and a philosophy of innovation, to be able to launch new products in different markets. We listen carefully to what our customers want, and whereas ten years ago they might have required five colours to satisfy 90% of the business, now they maybe need twenty or twenty-five colours to satisfy 70% of the business – and that’s where we can help, by providing an ever-evolving, large range which is always available.”
Recently, the company launched a range of digital options for customers including an online shop – inspiring a number of imitators – allowing customers 24/7 ordering, 365 days a year. The new Ostermann App helps customers to show their customers what options customers can supply and when.
As the managing director of Rudolf Ostermann GmbH, Dagmar Daxenberger, underlines the efforts and achievements of the team in the UK and Irish markets.
“The UK and Ireland are important markets for Ostermann. The continuous growth of the market is an important factor for the development of the whole Ostermann group. I appreciate the competence and the commitment of our UK team and especially the work of Stephen Parsons as managing director. Stephen not only has an in depth knowledge of the UK market, we are extremely pleased with how he has developed Ostermann UK and he is a perfect fit in the Ostermann family.”