Changerider Interview with CEO Thomas Hoffmeister

Our CEO Thomas Hoffmeister was interviewed in a Tesla by Philipp Depiereux on current topics of digitization during the AMB 2018 fair in Stuttgart.


Unfortunately the interview is only available in German. Please find the English translation of the transcript below.


Over 90,000 visitors came to the international exhibition for metal working (AMB) at this year's Stuttgart trade fair on 120,000 square metres. The Changerider team, which talks about digital change with a wide variety of personalities, was also present. In the Tesla:

  • Thomas Hoffmeister, CEO / Co Founder Fabrikado GmbH
  • Kai Ellenberger, CEO Ellenberger GmbH & Co. KG
  • Ulrich Kromer von Baerle, CEO Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH
  • Irene Bader, Director Global Marketing DMG MORI

The focus of the interview was on answering the following questions: What roles do external service providers play in the digital change? How can manufacturing and purchasing processes be digitalized?


Why was Fabrikado founded? What exactly do you do?

We have discovered that many contract manufacturers have problems getting orders at short notice. At the moment, contract manufacturers are often working at full capacity, but they have a hard time getting quickly new orders when shortfalls occur at short notice. We have set up the fabrikado.com production platform, in which orders can be placed digitally. Here CAD drawings can be calculated directly. At the same time, delivery dates and prices are compared with the capacities of the suppliers. The customer can order instantly.

The same data with which we have calculated the price for the customer is also available to the supplier. This means that the supplier can calculate his cost price on the same basis and does not even need to make an offer. The supplier can see directly whether the order is profitable or not.


Why do companies have to collaborate with start-ups in times of digitalization?

One thing that we will always need and that also became visible at the fair is innovation in the sense of increasing efficiency and optimizing products. One example of this is that the machine is always running faster and better. We are (in this region) good at this. But if I want a game changer, a fundamental change, such as changing my business model and the way I address my customers, or a cooperation with competitors, which I never wanted to talk to before, I can only do this from the outside. This way of thinking must change. I can no longer develop everything on my own. I can make small improvements in my own company, but to make big steps I have to work with start-ups. Accordingly, part of the existing research budget must be invested in start-ups. This must be done knowing that there is a higher risk and that I must pay more because the start-up has already taken a risk for me. There are two types of innovation: Continuous improvement and fundamental change.


Marketing and sales are often forgotten in digitalization. At the same time, online marketing does often not reach B2B customers at all. How did you solve this?

We made the same mistake at first. We thought that through the platform all customers would order from us. However, the customer is a person who actually only wants to have their component manufactured, and this is exactly how this person has to be advised. Therefore, in the coming phase, we will increasingly hire people to advise our customers with their components. At the same time, we are also continuously improving our digital production platform, which will decrease more and more consulting work. This includes the fact that parts are calculated faster and that parts that are difficult to calculate due to their complexity can be calculated more frequently. Therefore, we need to build a traditional sales organization and at the same time continue to improve our digital production platform. This enables us to achieve even greater scalability of our processes.


Your message to the audience about change and digitalization:

Be open minded! Many people are afraid that something will change. We have a certain disadvantage here. We have no champions in Germany. We have no Google, no Baidu like in China. We are afraid that the data will go to someone else. We have to build our own champions (here in Europe). Maybe this will take away our fear of new technologies.

Learn more about Changerider

26.09.2018 Ohne Kategorie
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