A burgeoning online platform aims to connect CNC manufacturers, buyers and suppliers together from all over the world. APMEN speaks to Oliver Lorenz, head of market Asia, Orderfox
With the emergence of Industry 4.0, the economic rules, value added networks and the industry’s entire DNA are changing. There are numerous opportunities to bring business activities in-line with the new requirements of this global transformation and overall digitisation of business and production processes.
The Paradigm Shift
For manufacturing companies, scenarios develop in which, for example, production is outsourced from the company’s headquarters in order to save time and reduce logistics costs. Another standard procedure is targeted and geographically broad searches for qualified partners in order to make the transition from local to global production options more efficient. A number of companies have built and are building up new markets in new countries, and suppliers often have to follow suit and likewise establish new locations in order to keep their foot in the door.
The online platform Orderfox aims to facilitate the CNC industry’s manufacturing companies, buyers and suppliers. Recording more than 45,000 searches (for companies and CNC jobs) and 400 users a day since its launch in June, the community has more than 160,000 members around the world, mainly from the European Union, America and Asia. We speak to Oliver Lorenz, head of market Asia, Orderfox, to learn more.
Q: Can you give a short background of Orderfox.com?
Oliver Lorenz (OL): Officially launched this year on the first of June, we envision Orderfox.com to be the Internet of the CNC industry. The platform is basically a work tool for everyone in the CNC industry; both buyers and manufacturers, making it a free global marketplace where companies across the globe can connect. It is more than just about equalising capacities and generating new suppliers. Users can cooperate without an intermediary, generate new orders (and new suppliers for buyers), and also enhance their network.
Q: Why does the company focus only on CNC manufacturing?
OL: It is a deliberate choice based on our founders and team’s decades of CNC industry experience. The core of the platform was to bridge buyers and manufacturers globally on just one platform and axe out the search engines and directories, saving one’s time and effort without the need to bring in an in-house research individual or team to do so. Our team ensures the integrity of the company listings to be safe, reliable and updated daily. It is catered specifically for this industry.
Q: As an independent startup firm, what is your differentiation factor with other players in the market space?
OL: Such a concept has never been seen on a global scale. First of all, it is free to register and the user has full access to a growing online global CNC community. New features are being introduced often as well. And we are very much focussed on SMEs too. Even a metal production shop in Johor Bahru with no more than three employees can reach out to a potential giant buyer on the other side of the world. You will also be surprised to find other companies able to offer various technologies and services which are up and coming and have not been heard of.
Apart from such services already offered, companies who join as premium partners will receive a membership package where they get brand exposure on the platform, more extensive company user profiles, and custom data generation. This means with the extended service and features our premium partners receive, they can also service their clients better by utilising the user behavioural data they will receive in their respective country.
Q: Can you describe Procurement 4.0 and how it goes along with Industry 4.0?
OL: Procurement 4.0 is for the buyers. You no longer have to invite and/or visit every supplier’s facility in person. With the filters built on the platform, it allows you to accurately define the profile of a supplier of what you are looking for. Sure, a handful of suppliers will eventually contact you, but defining your search on the platform will let you find exactly who meets your business’s needs. And that is what we call Procurement 4.0, because it is all on a digital platform.
Q: What do existing users have to say about Orderfox.com?
OL: They enjoy two of the main features: It is free to register, and user-friendly. Existing users are pleasantly surprised that when they enter their input for jobs, job listings are displayed much known to their technical capabilities. They might not want to do it right now, but they are able to do it anytime.
Q: What partnerships are you working with, with regards to upcoming developments?
OL: We are currently in talks to cooperate with higher education institutions, having key opinion leaders and professors to introduce the platform structure as part of the curriculum, using it as a case study, and also inviting them to try out the platform. This will be available in the knowledge and trends section of the platform soon.
Q: What are your plans looking ahead?
OL: With our first public exposure in EMO Hannover 2017, we are confident to launch promotional campaigns in Asia and the US very soon. We are also looking to expand the language ability of the platform from the existing five languages to 40 languages.
Q: The aim is to be a global platform. How will your approach be to handle the idiosyncrasies of each market?
OL: We intend to approach it from a local perspective—this is what our team is made up of. The experts on the team have years of local respective experience to overcome difficulties and they adapt the platform to meet the users’ and industry’s changing needs. We also have local helpdesks for each respective country to assist users.
Q: If both sides speak differently, how will the language barrier be overcome?
OL: We are currently looking into adding more features to the platform that can help the users to correspond better, like automated language translators or built-in language functions.
Q: What is the end goal in mind?
OL: We want to be a staple platform for everyone in the CNC industry; where they go to find out what the market trends are, what are the upcoming technologies featured online, and what is new on the platform.