More speed through aerodynamic optimisation or increased safety across road obstacles thanks to state-of-the-art suspension technology. DT Swiss impresses with innovative Swiss engineering technology that unifies precision and reliability. A significant factor in their recipe for success is meticulous product development. Comprehensive product tests, strict quality controls and diligent product approvals guarantee innovative, highly dependable products. DT Swiss tests its wheels in a wind tunnel to optimise the air resistance of even the smallest details. Every single piece of customer feedback flows into development. With the SAP C4C (Cloud for Customer) software solution, DT Swiss has implemented a CRM solution for structured feedback to offer high performance in its sales processes as well.
High-end components for bikes – this is the goal for all 900 employees at DT Swiss. “It is a passion for cycling that drives the developers at DT Swiss to continuously improve our products and push technological boundaries,” says Michael Schütz, CFO of DT Swiss. The victories of international cyclists underline the success of the company's approach. The mountain bike world champion Nino Schurter and Ironman winner Daniela Ryf both reached the top of the winners’ podium multiple times with components from DT Swiss.
Whether cross-country, downhill, enduro, freeride, gravel or racing bikes – DT Swiss products are used by renowned bike manufacturers all around the world. The company has an international sales organisation with over 100 employees. The patented innovations are technically complex and must be adjusted to the various bicycle interfaces, which makes competent sales advice all the more important. It was not easy to standardise the consulting quality internationally. “We sent sales aides in the form of Word documents to all sales managers but had no way to check whether they were actually being used,” says Schütz.
Globalisation of production
More and more bicycle manufacturers have a global presence with production at multiple locations around the world. The internationalisation of end customers presents new challenges for the DT Swiss sales department and increases the need for a standardised, digitised information flow. All sales managers are eager for feedback from the market. Knowing precisely what customers want is the basis for the global success of DT Swiss. Schütz explains: “Depending on the size of the customer, a salesperson may oversee anywhere from 5 to 100 customers globally – and that number is rising. We wanted a software that could be used globally to map and optimise the entire sales division.”
Simple, efficient, standardised. This was the goal DT Swiss set for handling sales correspondence and processes. Every year the company brings 50 to 100 new items onto the market that are specified according to the customers' requirements. An easy-to-use tool was needed to grant the salespeople an overview of all customer information and sales steps. This called for automated and standardised processes to ensure no step was forgotten and achieve consistent consulting quality all around the world.
Expanding market leadership
“Our success depends on our customers, which is precisely why we want to stay close to them. I am in constant contact with our sales managers every day and maintain the customer relationships in aftersales,” says Schütz. “Customer feedback should not come sporadically from individual salespeople; it should have its own place in every workflow – encompassing all customers and all markets.” This is the only way for companies to develop market-oriented products in a timely manner.
Successful products of the future
Today, the engineers at DT Swiss are developing the products that will be available in around two years' time. They use patented machines that were developed by the company in-house. The developers have already proven their innovative spirit many times, such as with the flat forging technology. In this process, the spokes are pressed flat with a weight of up to 250 tonnes. The flat shape primarily offers aerodynamic advantages. The forging process further compresses the material, achieving even more stability with less weight. A guarantee of success for professional cyclists and DT Swiss.
Following an extensive market analysis, the company decided on a software product that was the best fit for its requirements. Michael Schütz is very satisfied with the cloud-based solution SAP C4C (Cloud for Customer): “The system guarantees 100 percent transparency for all customer processes.” With a single click, the entire customer history is visible for all internal stakeholders. DT Swiss also has the ability to adjust the number of users to the market situation at any time.
Reaching the goal as a team
DT Swiss and its SAP partner Sybit managed to implement the SAP C4C programme in a record time of six months – and they even came in under budget. This was achieved through expert consulting on the part of Sybit and the company's own self-initiative. “From the very start, our six-person project team recorded every SAP partner briefing in manuals so that we would be able do more ourselves in the long term,” Schütz recalls.
One thing DT Swiss will never have to worry about again is server maintenance. The cloud-based software is hosted exclusively on SAP’s servers. Authorised employees can access the stored data from any location in the world – sales-relevant information, customer agreements and the status of sales negotiations are all pooled together in one place. The data is saved on multiple SAP servers through mirroring so that nothing can ever be lost.
“Market monitoring has never been so easy,” says Schütz. Due to the internationalisation of bike manufacturers, it was not always easy to find and get in touch with the right contact partner. With the new software, you can see each individual sales step at a glance and always find the right person to talk to. “Thanks to simplified processes, efficiency across our sales management team has risen by some 20 to 30 percent,” Schütz concludes.
Low error rate
Every day brings dozens of customer offers to Schütz’s desk, which the CFO approves after checking the margins. Since introduction of the software, he can be sure that the information in these documents is 100 percent reliable. “The program specifies a checklist for all salespeople. If an item on the list has not been completed, the software sends the sales managers a reminder,” says Schütz. The error rate of the overall workflow sank considerably, while employee and customer satisfaction increased. Among the reasons for this is the option of flexible customisation. “With the SAP C4C solution, the specifications for an order are now always clearly defined from the start. Whether it’s frame size, wheel fastening or material,” says Schütz.
Instead of relying on the memory of individual employees, customer-specific data on the 60,000 items sold by DT Swiss is stored reliably in the system, where it is accessible for everyone. In turn, this frees up more time for the salespeople – for more customers, individual consultation and attentive after-sales service. With SAP Cloud for Sales, DT Swiss achieves full transparency in the global sales process. This creates enormous competitive advantages, as orders have changed significantly in recent years. “Today, customers no longer order large volumes of an item like they did ten years ago, but only the items they require for their current production run,” says Schütz. “I would lose customers without SAP C4C,” he adds.
Secure for the future
DT Swiss is still on the path to success thanks to an agile and customer-specific project approach. “Data-based sales figures underlie trends, so we can be sure that we’re competitive with our components,” says Schütz. He reveals that the company is already planning future adjustments to company and production processes in line with Industry 4.0. “By working systematically with the new software, we will be able to plan sales processes even better in the long term.” The curve charting the success of DT Swiss continues uphill.
«Thanks to simplified processes, efficiency across our sales management team has risen by some 20 to 30 percent.»
Michael Schütz, CFO, DT Swiss
About DT Swiss
Spokes, carbon wheels or mountain bike suspension forks. In just 25 years, DT Swiss has established itself as the market leader for high-end bicycle components. The successful company began in 1994 with stainless steel spoke manufacturing in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Ambitious cyclists around the world now count on the dependable components from DT Swiss in order to reach even greater speeds.
Headquarter: Biel, Swiss