Collaboration between Linde (China) and Dematic

“The strongest combination in China”

Back in November 2016 the supply chain specialist Dematic found a new home in the KION Group. And already the collaboration is bearing fruit, including in China. Linde (China) and Dematic are working together there to combine strengths and offer customers bespoke solutions from a single source.

2017-12-06

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The teams wasted no time. In early November 2016, when the KION Group’s takeover of Dematic was less than 48 hours old, Ching Pong Quek, KION’s Chief Asia Pacific Officer and President of Linde (China) paid a visit to Dematic’s site in Shanghai. He was joined by Lv Shuxian and Chen Xiaochun, the respective marketing directors of Dematic and Linde in China. There was only one subject of conversation in Shanghai – namely, how the two KION subsidiaries are managing to combine their strengths and expertise for the benefit of the customer. For Lv Shuxian this was the beginning of a new era in more ways than one: he had only started working for Dematic on November 1, 2016, the day that the acquisition was completed.


The companies never had any fears about collaborating. Linde – China’s biggest foreign supplier of premium forklift trucks and warehouse technology – and the US-based automation expert Dematic presented a united front to customers right from the start. Between March and May 2017, they exhibited together at three logistics trade fairs, showcasing themselves to existing key accounts and potential new customers as KION’s provider of comprehensive, integrated and intelligent solutions.


Lv Shuxian

Marketing Director of Dematic China

"The complementary products of Linde (China) and Dematic are opening up joint sales opportunities for both companies."


Chen Xiaochun is satisfied with how things have gone so far: “This joint marketing effort has enabled us to inform customers about how Linde and Dematic will work together. Our conversations have also identified a number of project opportunities,” says Chen, to which Lv Shuxian adds: “Although we are not the only combination of this kind in the Chinese market, we are undoubtedly the strongest.”


And the collaboration also has other benefits. Working together makes it easier to get a handle on trends in the Chinese market and on customers’ constantly changing requirements. The way in which the market is changing was evident at Asia’s edition of the CeMAT trade fair in late October 2017, where the event organizers tried out a whole new concept for the main exhibition hall. Instead of forklift truck equipment, which was exhibited elsewhere, the most prominent display was taken up by warehouse technology in combination with logistics systems and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). For Chen Xiaochun it was a clear sign: “The attention of the Chinese market and of customers is clearly focusing on intelligent logistics solutions and not so much on equipment as before.”


Chen Xiaochun

Director of Marketing Strategy and Solutions at Linde (China)

“The attention of the Chinese market is clearly focusing on intelligent logistics solutions.”


More potential synergies in sight

The trend is obvious. In China, just like elsewhere, more and more customers are looking for one-stop solutions that will raise efficiency in their warehouses and factories and cut costs. For Lv Shuxian, there is no question that the products of Linde and Dematic complement each other perfectly, including for transitional solutions. “Dematic can offer the customers a fully automated warehouse system, but perhaps not the entire warehouse straight away. Linde can offer material handling solutions for the transition, such as forklift trucks and AGVs.” Complementary products are opening up joint sales opportunities for both companies. Chen Xiaochun and Lv Shuxian look at projects together and decide where is potential for collaboration. And special courses were held so that the sales staff of Linde and Dematic could learn about each other’s products.


The foundation for all of this is a close working relationship. The problem? Xiamen, where Linde (China) is based, and Shanghai are more than 1,000 kilometers apart. So, the two marketing teams don’t just use email and phone calls to keep in contact. Annual sales and marketing meetings and project discussions also play an important role. WeChat, the Chinese version of WhatsApp, helps the teams to stay in touch outside of working hours. After more than a year, the communication is smoother than initially expected, reports Chen Xiaochun. “I think that’s because both sides are speaking a common language in the form of shared concepts, perspectives and methods.”


The understanding between Linde and Dematic is getting better and better outside the workplace too. For Chen Xiaochun, who travels on business from Xiamen to Shanghai, the distance is not a problem: “Dematic’s offices in Shanghai are located next to the Hongqiao airport terminal, so if time allows I often grab a cup of coffee with Lv Shuxian between flights.” What do they do during this chat? Discuss marketing ideas of course!