The division OEM-ATM* of the Gunnebo Group supplies the safes which manufacturers of ATM’s assemble into their systems. As the ‘Centre of Excellence’, the Doetinchem branch designs all ATM-safes produced by Gunnebo and its partners worldwide, and manages the process of safe certification by the appropriate international institutes. The ATM safes are manufactured in Doetinchem, at the Gunnebo plant in Halol, India, and at the manufacturing plants of partners in China, the USA and Brazil. NCR Corporation is a prominent customer and partner of OEM-ATM. The majority of safes manufactured in Doetinchem are supplied to NCR. Within OEM-ATM, customer relations with NCR are managed by Andy Puhl; other customers are served by Walter Kling, who additionally provides Global Support & Engineering.
It is a truly international network. For example: a visit to the Chinese manufacturing partner, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the cooperation to produce ATM-safes under licence. At least once a year: a trip to the Gunnebo plant in India. Every month: supply an overview on performance and forecasts to the Gunnebo Board in Sweden. Receive visitors: representatives of NCR Russia, to discuss measures to combat a rise in crimes related to ATM’s in that country. And above all: a multitude of international contacts with NCR.
Andy Puhl: “There is an emphasis on being commercial, but ‘Sales’ is not a key part of my work. All of our products are made to specifications. The time-frame for production of a new product spans several months after the initial request by a customer. Our primary focus is to offer an excellent technical expertise, and to remain at the forefront of ATM-safe design. This is illustrated by our interwoven partnership with NCR. They concluded that ‘single-sourcing’, and a commitment to a long-standing cooperation with Gunnebo was preferable to the ongoing retention of an in-house expertise on safe-design. They produce over a hundred-thousand ATM’s annually, and to us, NCR is a vital partner and customer. But it is a false assumption to think that we, as OEM-ATM, could rest assured of their commitment – we have the continuous obligation to offer a competitive product, and are closely monitored in that regard. It is a continuum of maintaining a mutually beneficial partnership.”
“After pre-university secondary education (VWO in Dutch), I went to the Maritime Academy, and specialised in navigation. It turned out to be, in retrospect, a perfect choice, with elements of engineering, commerce and financial management. The study included a year at sea. You go everywhere. Being 20, on a cargo-ship heading for South-America. A wondrous experience. “
“When I graduated, there were few employment opportunities in shipping. I applied for advanced enlistment with the Navy. At that time, the Dutch Navy joined international mine sweeping operations in the Red Sea. For six months, we were part of NATO fleet manoeuvres. Thrilling in a way, but still, the Navy – not my first choice for a life-long career. The emphasis on ‘the chain of command’, the hierarchy. A manner of conduct which doesn’t fit me.”
“By that time, I had become engaged to my future wife. The ‘boundless grail for seven seas’ – it had gradually disappeared. I started to look for a job ashore which combined engineering and commerce. And that materialised perfectly with a job-offer at the procurement department of Martens Brandkasten.”
It’s 1989, and Andy Puhl, surrounded by chestnut cabinets and the smoke of a cigar, has his job interview with the director. A director which, by that time, must have been somewhat pre-occupied by the upcoming acquisition of his factory by the Swedish Rosengrens company. Returns have been gradually declining in the past few years, and the Martens family has decided to sell. Initially, the workers, no longer part of a family-owned business, fear they have to give up their long accustomed informal ways, but appreciation of the new owners builds up over time, as the factory soon revitalises – new products, new customers, and a young Swedish director with a determined vision on contemporary manufacturing. Investments are plentiful, things are looking up. The factory receives a complete overhaul in 1991. Though not all former ways are set aside: Production Manager Ben Schlief, who would remain with (by then) Gunnebo until 2003, remains an advocate of cautious spending.
Andy Puhl: “That cautiousness to invest – it’s something we have overcome. In our view, continuity and manufacturing stability require new investments, new machinery, and service contracts to guarantee proper maintenance.”
In 1997, Gunnebo starts manufacturing safes for ATM’s. At that time, there are 2 distinct types of safes for ATM’s: the ‘UL’ type, and the ‘CEN’-type. The former is more or less comparable to a very straightforward ‘cabinet’ made of sheets of nearly half an inch of steel – which offers a meagre protection against a cutting torch. There has been no progress in its design: an UL is, and always has been like that. In contrast, CEN-safes are ‘evolutionary’ – there is an on-going development of their resistance to attacks, for each of the different grades in which they are available. In other words: the current ‘CEN-4’ safe is significantly more resilient to attacks compared to a CEN-4 in 2001.
Andy Puhl: “From 1997 onwards, we manufactured CEN-3 and CEN-4 safes. They covered 20% of the market-share in ATM-safes; UL had 80%. We then designed a custom ‘CEN-1’ safe, which was priced comparably to an UL safe, but significantly stronger. NCR decided to implement these in their ATM’s. Suddenly, almost instantly, we were welcomed with a 400% increase in orders. In 2006, our factory was running on full steam with 3 shifts, and even shifts on Sundays. Halfway through the year, we decided that things had become a little overheated. We could no longer combine the rush in our ATM safe manufacturing with the sustainment of our other products, like custom build vaults. So from then on, we focussed solely on ATM safes. Our other products were transferred to the Gunnebo facilities in France, Germany and Indonesia. This was the incentive for the ‘Dedicated Factories’ project of Gunnebo Operations.”
“The geography of our sales has, over time, spread from the Netherlands – with Martens Brandkasten – over Europe with Rosengrens, and finally worldwide with Gunnebo. Initially, when we manufactured ATM-safes, we were only competitive in Europe, but with our CEN-1 product of 2006, it became global. That year, we shipped thousands of safes to China. We then sought and found a manufacturing partner in China, and coached their process to obtain the required certifications for ATM safe manufacturing. They accomplished this exactly ten years ago in 2007, and that’s what we’ll be celebrating together next week.”
From 2007, onwards. Lean manufacturing and automation have become a regular part of operations. Andy Puhl, Plant Manager as of 2006, is a strong proponent of sharing responsibilities throughout the organisation, and of a fair amount of freedom for employees to personally shape their contribution to the success of Gunnebo Doetinchem.
“It is my intent to respect, and to accept as is, each and everyone I work with. We all fulfil a specific set of tasks and responsibilities within the company. By default, I allow people to be guided by their own believe in what serves our company best. Naturally, this has to be accompanied by feedback and deliberation, and sporadically I feel the need to steer matters more direct. But I particularly appreciate it when people seize this opportunity to develop initiatives, and thereby accept responsibility. I myself do not work fruitfully or pleasantly, when I feel I am being harnessed, being scrutinised. I’ve seen enough of that in my Navy days. Where I, as a young man, could give orders to someone far more experienced and mature, merely due to my rank. And as the years go by, this becomes more apparent to me personally, as more frequently, my superiors are of lesser age than me. This is a perfectly natural side of ageing, and something I do not think about much. What matters most is what people achieve, in what way they achieve this, and importantly, how they address you – with a sense of respect for one’s commitment, and the willingness to fairly assess your opinions.”
“I genuinely feel that we have managed, with the constant contribution of all of our colleagues, to create a pleasant and respectful working environment. I think this a prerequisite for any team to achieve significant results, for any person to contribute successfully. People contribute in different ways, approach an employment differently, for example, as a result of their life stage. Where one might primarily seek a family supporting income, another might have a purposely drive to elevate the company’s success. This is only natural – people differ.
Continuity and profitability are two sides of the same coin. But which side should be prioritised? Andy Puhl considers continuity as the leading principle for Gunnebo Doetinchem. A continuity which is strengthened by the progressive integration of the Doetinchem plant into the overall Gunnebo Group. Contributing to the global success of OEM-ATM has become a cornerstone of the Doetinchem team’s thinking.
“The notion that cash-transactions will gradually disappear, and thus render ATM’s obsolete – well, that’s a prospect which has been foretold for over 20 years. Yet consistently, the overall amount and utilisation of cash has continued to grow worldwide. Norway, Finland, Sweden – these countries really try to discourage the use of cash. With mixed results. So it’s fair to say the decline of cash transactions may eventually pose a threat. But very likely, not in the foreseeable future. And you simply can’t anticipate in a meaningful way on developments if, in all likelihood, they’ll occur more than five to ten years from now. Naturally, these reflections occupy our thinking occasionally, but as a subsidiary of the Gunnebo Group, we’re only one of multiple voices in the definition of a market strategy.“
“Gunnebo is a publicly listed company, and as such, operates with a clearly defined system of accountability. We report extensively each month – financially, on operational performances. What objectives have proven successful, and on what will we focus to improve? Similarly, we are held accountable by our customers. Have we fulfilled their requirements in quantity and quality, and again, what are our efforts to improve our value to them? Offering value to our customers is essential to every employee within our company – after all, manufacturing is our core business. Requirements which originate from the Gunnebo Group, like profitability, is usually not something we, as management, relay directly throughout the organisation, although we naturally do incorporate them into focus-points such as cost-effectiveness. Share holder value is intrinsic to the nature of a listed company. And in my view, safeguarding the organisation’s continuity is the precondition for profitability. I do think our contribution to the success of the Group continues to increase, with the efforts of Gilbert Koenders and Walter Kling, and with our extensive networking with all of our partners worldwide.“
“I sincerely hope to continue my work here in Doetinchem in the coming years. Because I enjoy my work, and find it fulfilling. And I am happy in that I feel my work is appreciated. If you look at our team – where we have come from, what we have accomplished, the opportunities that arise from working with such a group of committed people. And the challenges, as we are now into the second stage of Gunnebo 2002, our transition to more automation. Which constitutes an important evolution in the way we work – not only in Doetinchem, but throughout Gunnebo. To achieve such a result, with the help of all of our colleagues, is likewise a wonderful experience.”
*OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer; ATM – Automated Teller Machine (a somewhat outdated description when you consider the modern ATM’s).
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