"We don't sell products, we sell solutions"

Customised trucks are a key part of Linde's business. But until now, customers have often had to contend with long lead times. Klaus Müller, responsible for customized options at Linde EMEA, and Frank Christl, Sales Manager at the Linde dealer Suffel Fördertechnik, explain how KION's premium brand is doing everything it can to change this situation. In the era of Industry 4.0, made-to-measure solutions and fast turnarounds are the key to success.

Customized options are extremely important for Linde. How long have they been part of the portfolio offered by Linde and Suffel?

Klaus Müller: We have always offered customised options, but demand has risen sharply in the past few years. They now account for up to 40 per cent of our new orders. This is because customers have to cut costs and optimise their processes – and they can do this by employing trucks and warehouse technology that are perfectly tailored to their requirements.

"Our aim is to become the best in the industry and to achieve a clear advantage over our competitors."


Klaus Müller

Responsible for customized options at Linde MH EMEA

What might a customised option look like?

Frank Christl: Customised options vary tremendously. It is possible, for example, to customise the length and width of the forks, the height and brightness of the safety headlamps, or the fuel. It is also possible to make major modifications to trucks. Take, for example, a paper roll transporter, which consists of a modified truck and a module, namely a mandrel for the roll of paper.

Linde is improving its 'Business Excellence' with the customised options process. Why is this revision necessary and what is the objective of the process?

KM: We need to make improvements so that we can respond to enquiries and process orders more quickly.

FC: It generally takes eight to ten weeks to manufacture a Linde truck, and a further six weeks for a customised option – assuming it is already available and doesn't have to be newly developed. Until now, lead times were sometimes more than a year. This was not in line with the market and it was, of course, difficult to communicate to customers. We are now aiming to deliver modified warehouse equipment, as well as modified trucks, from our French plant in Châtellerault in just 14 weeks.

"If we want to secure customer loyalty through customised options, it is particularly important that we meet delivery times and ensure the reliability of deliveries."


Frank Christl

Sales Manager at the Linde dealer Suffel Fördertechnik

What specific measures have you taken to improve the customised options process?

KM: We are optimising our operations in various ways. Firstly, we have increased the size of the CO teams in France and Italy because they were short-staffed and consequently unable to deliver solutions. Having a good team is vital for success and we are now increasing the collaboration between employees worldwide. International CO meetings also take place several times a year, which allow us to streamline our consultation processes and to clarify who can develop what for whom and who can help out in the event of bottlenecks.

Linde is also investing in new software, the oneLOSP (Linde Online Solution Platform), which contains information about the solutions that have already been implemented and is available to dealers and customers worldwide. Thanks to its standardised online interface, customer enquiries can be passed on and processed more quickly in future.

What would you still like to achieve?

KM: Our aim is to become the best in the industry and to achieve a clear advantage over our competitors. We want customers to be able to optimise their processes. This is why, in future, we want to sell solutions, and not products.

FC: We hope that lead times will be significantly reduced and that we will be able to sell more trucks at competitive prices. If we want to secure customer loyalty through customised options, it is particularly important that we meet delivery times and ensure the reliability of deliveries.

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