BHS, Inc. Custom Manufacturing Wins Automotive OEM Bids for Alta Material Handling
The global automotive OEM industry was worth $1.5 trillion in 2020. It’s a strong vertical for suppliers of material handling equipment — assuming you can get your foot in the door. Given the strength of embedded competition, that’s not an easy task. If you only offer off-the-shelf products, it’s often impossible.
“The automotive industry relies on a lot of custom manufactured equipment. The solution has to be very specific to the need,” said Justin Zoss, sales manager at Alta Material Handling.
A long hunt for the right manufacturing partner led the Alta team to BHS, Inc., whose custom manufacturing capabilities helped to unlock this valuable market. Here’s how Alta’s partnership with BHS led to a first contract with a large, tier 1 automotive OEM — and many more to follow.
PLACING THE WINNING BID FOR CUSTOM TRAILER CARTS
The story starts like so many material handling deals: with a request for quotes (RFQ).
A leading manufacturer of vehicle seating products needed a fleet of trailer carts to improve throughput at a major manufacturing facility. Given the nonstandard shapes of the OEM’s products, no standard cart would do. The company’s in-house engineering team outlined unique cart requirements — including integrated canvas bags — and added these details to an intricate RFQ.
The company distributed the RFQ across its supplier base, which included Alta Material Handling. Before the Alta sales team could issue a bid, however, it needed to find the right manufacturing partner. That task that had led to losses in the past.
This time, that journey led to BHS, Inc., a leading manufacturer of custom material handling solutions based in St. Louis, Missouri.
CUSTOM MANUFACTURING FROM BHS
The RFQ called for an all-original steel cart, complete with bag housings and other custom features. But it didn’t provide a complete design. That meant only a manufacturer with strong engineering capabilities would be able to win Alta the job.
Zoss approached BHS, Inc., and the collaboration began. The BHS team provided designs and quotes that helped Alta secure the bid. Meanwhile, Zoss brought in a third partner to supply the cart’s signature bags. The trilateral partnership led to the successful design, manufacture, and delivery of unique material handling carts, built to spec. Overall, the project left the customer eager to place another order.
“Being able to take BHS and our other partner and pair them up not only hit the quality threshold, but hit the price point that really put us on the map with this customer,” Zoss said. “It was a very big win.”
ONGOING WORK FOR A TIER 1 AUTOMOTIVE OEM
This project led to several subsequent collaborations, all supplying custom equipment for the automotive OEM.
“After the first cart project, the customer came back with additional RFQs for more mainstream carts — parts carts and double-deckers,” Zoss said.
One newer project demanded particular engineering expertise. This cart required precise placement of anchor holes, drilled to meet exacting specifications. The customer was reluctant to place the order without proof Alta and BHS could meet its standards.
“The BHS engineers were able to mock that cart up, throw it in CAD, and give a 3D representation to the customer,” Zoss said. “We were able to talk through any concerns and make adjustments quickly. It was phenomenal.”
While BHS’ engineering and manufacturing capabilities were integral to this string of projects, Zoss also attributed the success to the BHS team’s customer service skills.
“My interactions with BHS have been personable, timely, high-quality, and cost conscious,” Zoss said. “When you can align those four things, it makes it very easy to start winning deals. It took me three or four years to find a good match for custom manufacturing, but we’ve found one in BHS.”
DOES YOUR NEXT MATERIAL HANDLING DEAL DEPEND ON HIGH-QUALITY, FAIRLY PRICED CUSTOM MANUFACTURING?
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