We sat down with David Schultz, NewStream's business development manager, recently to discuss the process for onboarding new customers, their concerns, NewStream's value adds, and how we help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) love their supply chain.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at NewStream?
A: For starters, I love our culture, our people, and the teamwork approach to everything we do. Our business is highly customizable, and the services we provide are different for each one of our customers. Our flexibility is the key, and it allows me to get use creativity when building a program for a customer. That’s the most exciting aspect of my role in business development.
Q: What are you most excited about as you review the marketplace and help customers customize solutions?
A: There is a lot of opportunity in the marketplace right now. The supply chain challenges continue to be front and center for most organizations; companies in on and off-highway industries are looking for solutions. NewStream is well positioned, as we have the experience, expertise, and capacity to assist. Even more, we understand that a streamlined implementation timeline is important. We can meet the customer's lead time to make sure disruptions to their supply chain are minimal.
Q: As NewStream’s business development manager, you talk kitting, packaging, assembly, and distribution with prospective customers on a regular. In your conversations, what do you find as the common reason for outsourcing these services to NewStream?
A: The most common theme that I see is that resources are limited. The majority of companies that we target in the on and off-highway segments are experiencing a significant increase in demand. However, increased demand has been met with labor and space constraints, along with tremendous delays in the supply chain. For a manufacturer, we get it that supporting production and customer loyalty will always be top priorities, but resource limitations can affect other important areas of business.
While outsourcing aftermarket parts kitting and packaging to an expert value-added provider can be overwhelming on top of all other priorities, customers are continuously intrigued at the thought of relieving their stress levels by pushing these services to an experienced provider like NewStream. Just think about how much you could do if a portion of your to-do list was instantly moved to a trustworthy expert! We do just that and deliver the confidence customers need to meet their goals and grow the business.
Q: What are customers most surprised about after talking with the team and touring NewStream’s facility?
A: The first thing customers mention after touring is our high-energy and upbeat work environment, specifically the culture and knowledge of our employee-owners as they move through the facility. They always mention the level of organization, technology, and quality that they see in every area of our operation. Most notably, prospects are surprised by the variety of services and the ability to customize programs to accommodate the needs of the customer.
Q: From trucking to construction to mining, NewStream works in a variety of on/off-highway industries. Where do you see the most need for NewStream’s value-added services from your research?
A: Fortunately, the on and off-highway segments that we serve are experiencing tremendous growth or a hyper-focus on the throughput of aftermarket parts to end-users; and not just in the industries you mentioned. Utility vehicles, agricultural equipment, and aerial work platforms are also seeing higher demand than forecasted 12 months ago. We understand that in a time of high demand, the focus moves quickly to make sure the right parts are in the right place at the right time. NewStream helps customers in all of these industries focus on customer service and fulfillment, while we are in the background effectively putting together kitting, packaging and assembly products to help fuel their aftermarket parts business success.
Q: What is an average lead time to transitioning the business once pricing is approved by both parties?
A: Fortunately, our structure allows us to onboard a new program quickly. The lead time is primarily driven by the size of the program and the urgency of the customer. Transitioning a handful of kit part numbers can be done over several weeks. However, a large program with dozens of SKUs would require a longer lead time. Overall, we see an average lead time of 60 days to transition the business to NewStream after a contract is executed.
Q: Paint us a picture, David. Contract negotiations are complete and the customer is moving through the onboarding phase. What do the customer’s demeanor and confidence look like now compared to when they first called you?
A: Searching for the right value-add solution provider can be a cumbersome and stressful process. Kitting and packaging are critical components to an OEMs aftermarket parts business. Essentially, we take an overwhelming situation and help the customer love their supply chain again. There is a sense of relief and excitement during the onboarding phase for all players – from members of the C-suite to category managers to procurement, they all see the value of NewStream as a partner and are ready to move forward with confidence. The quality and care put into the packaging process are highly visible, and it has a direct effect on the overall customer experience. The focus of the OEM turns to the solutions that NewStream can provide for an all-inclusive program, solving problems, enhancing throughput, and improving the overall experience for their customers.
Q: Let’s pretend I’m an automotive OEM and I am looking to outsource my kitting program. What are your Top 3 recommendations for me as I start this process?
A: For starters, I would suggest that the OEM review the performance of the in-house kitting program and understand the challenges that arise from building the kits internally. With that in mind, I would build the list of things that I am looking for in a kitting services provider. In fact, our team has put together an easy-to-follow checklist on how to start a kitting program. This is a great resource for any OEM.
Secondly, the quality of your kitting program will have a significant effect on your customer’s experience. It is critical that the Kitting and Packaging supplier has the capability to provide a high level of service, as the performance will have a direct reflection on the OEM. I would recommend that the OEM ask for referrals and research the book of business that the kitting and packaging service providers are currently handling. If the referrals report dissatisfaction with the quality of service, I would consider alternatives.
Lastly, I would recommend that stability and experience matter. The OEM should look for a supplier that provides excellent quality and customer support. The supplier should be able to present several case studies that highlight performance over time. Finally, make sure they have a healthy financial position and an engaged, motivated workforce.
Thanks to David for giving us some insight into the common concerns we see with on and off-highway current and prospective customers and solutions NewStream can provide to help streamline processes, free up critical resources at the OEM level, and drive aftermarket parts profits for our customers.