„I am proud every time when something is finished that I made. This pride doesn't stop. I then take photos - I can then also show them to my customers as an example. “
“YOU IMMEDIATELY KNOW WHAT IT COSTS. FOR ME, THIS IS IMPORTANT.”
Bernhard Nikiel in an interview on the subject of costing
Mr Nikiel, what was your most exciting project in 2014?
They are all exciting. For example, the project in which we fitted perforated sheets from you: at a company in Degerloch. We modernised all the balcony railings there, everything in stainless steel. This is rather unusual, galvanised railings are used more often, then the polished stainless steel does not match. But that's always dependent on the customer requirement. Customers can be guided on what would be suitable at home. (Mr Nikiel stands up and fetches a folder containing photos of applications) This is now my creation, without an architect. This is the polished perforated sheet made from stainless steel that I spoke about. (He points to the photo of a house).
What typifies a good supplier or manufacturer for you?
Firstly competence. When I order from MEVACO, for example, I get very competent advice over the phone. And at the same time I get a price and know what the goods cost, and I can immediately finish making my offer. That's really good.
What do you value about MEVACO?
MEVACO is our only supplier of perforated sheets. That says everything, or what do you think? (Grins)
How much time does a price calculation take in your daily work?
Half an hour to an hour every day. For an average order of one day it takes approximately one hour. The time spent with consultation is approximately just as long as the time needed to create the offer. That balances things out.
"When I order from MEVACO, for example, I get very competent advice over the phone."
Do you quote fixed prices to your customers?
Yes. Prices for railings are fixed prices, for example. I always bill prices for assembly according to time.
How much time do you then approximately need for one offer?
That always depends on the size of the object. Sometimes it can take 5 minutes, sometimes one hour.
Do you often have to recost?
I always recost. After every order, when everything is finished, the invoice is written. The employees write down their times: in production and assembly. Mostly it is right then.
When are there problems with customers about prices?
When I have the order there are no more problems. Beforehand, there are sometimes discussions, then we negotiate, and I try to keep to my price. The discussions are always about the end price. The customers then say: "so-and-so is cheaper". Then we talk to each other.
How often does this happen?
Often the customer then simply no longer phones. When I then ask, the project has either been put back, or so-and-so was cheaper and won the contract.
MEVACO is the only manufacturer to provide an online shop with binding quantity-dependent price quotation, availability check and a specified delivery deadline. Did you know that?
Yes, but I don't use it at all. I prefer to phone. I like the personal conversation. But even I am getting digital (grins): The order confirmation always came by fax earlier,but now it also comes by e-mail.
Is there a reason why you don't actively use the online shop?
I am 65, I have a very normal mobile phone.I don't have an iPhone. My daughter does everything on the computer. She will certainly do things differently from me later.
(His daughter comes into the office briefly. We ask.) Do you use the online shop?
(Julia Nikiel) Yes, I often look through it. For example, when I want to check prices and delivery deadlines for ordering.
To what extent do you profit from the all-inclusive-prices at MEVACO?
I know straight away exactly what it costs: I no longer have to think about whether I have to add anything. There is the one price – and that's good.
Is this price certainty for manufacturer prices important for you, or do you consider it to be absolutely natural?
That's important for me. It's not the case with all suppliers. I simply no longer have to ask at MEVACO – I like that.
Do you have a suggestion as to how MEVACO could provide you with even better support with price quotations?
At the moment, I can't think of anything that could be improved. It's always good, it's actually ideal. I have been working together with the same suppliers for years. With MEVACO for over nearly 20 years now.
"I simply no longer have to ask at MEVACO."
What are you proud of in your work?