From customer challenge via the FATH Experience Factory to the finished product
How does a clever idea become a new FATH product? This is precisely the subject of our discussion with Volker Walz, our product manager. This developed into an interesting interview, highlighting our innovations and explaining our underlying motivation:
The FATH product worlds are diversified. So what is behind this diversification?
In our capacity as a component specialist, we have become familiar with the needs of people working on the shop floor over many years. We have consistently expanded our portfolio with products and solutions that make people's jobs easier. ENRICH YOUR WORKING LIFE.
This is not an empty promise, but the motivation that drives each of us every day.
Where do the ideas for new FATH products originate?
The ideas come from the real world - from watching and listening at the customer's site and from our own production facility. Feedback from our customers has led to the development of new product areas that are always related to our roots - aluminum profile system components. For example FATH LEAN 4.0. These products directly influence the working world on the shop floor by optimizing interfaces in production areas and making processes more efficient.
So FATH product worlds complement each other?
Yes, they do. In many areas, solutions work seam-lessly with FATH components: for example, FIFO stations for dollies, labeling including stable connection to a profile, or the revolutionary Flowsort sorting modules used in intralogistics. The ambos.io web app also digitizes work processes that are executed using analog structures. The solutions can be combined individually as required and help to build a productive and highly efficient industrial ecosystem.
How is it ensured that new solutions really add value?
Through their direct practical application! All FATH products and solutions are created collaboratively by the people who will later use them. Unique to FATH in this respect is our FATH Experience Factory (FATH XF). Innovations are created right here, on our own shop floor, using FATH products. And this is also where our most critical users reside - my colleagues in production and intralogistics. They give us unbridled feedback on our products and also provide us with new ideas. Colleagues who are on site with customers from a wide range of industries complement the pool of ideas with their experiences.
How does the actual development process unfold?
Through the internal and external interaction we know exactly what the market demands. These demands are then transformed into ideas and concepts in our innovation lab, in a collaborative dialog with our customers. After this phase we are familiar with the technical requirements and can evaluate the feasibility.
We then hand over the project to the product development experts. From there, we move on to the development of prototypes and production of samples, and finally to pilot series products, which often have their first application in the FATH Experience Factory.
Can you cite a current example of this procedure?
Yes, one example is the FATH bracket range, which was created in this way – it is a whole series of different shop floor helpers. Here, too, our colleagues have consistently continued to think ahead in terms of customer benefits. Why not use the same bracket flexibly for a wide range of systems? For square and round tube profiles as well as for perforated sheet. The solution to the puzzle is adaptability, which at the same time also adds the advantage of 360° rotation.
You can rotate it and turn it as you like: Clever ideas don't have to be complicated!
"The most critical customers are my colleagues who work on the FATH shop floor - FATH XF. From there, the feedback on our new products is blunt and unfiltered. Having this expertise in-house benefits you our customer."
Volker Walz, Product Manager at FATH