Fenzi Technical Team's Winning Formula: HOW NEW IDEAS COME ABOUT

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There are many stages in the process of developing a new product, especially in a field as highly technical as the chemicals used in flat glass processing, which calls for compliance with special qualitative standards and regulations. It starts with formulation and moves on to the choice of raw materials, to controlling the various production phases, application tests, performance tests, verification of compatibility with the other components of the IG unit, and much more.

But where does the idea come from? What does it take to develop a product that can corner a spot in the market?
The answer comes from those directly responsible in the field: Ljerka Wiesenhofer, Hansruedi Mäder, Rueduger Reichardt, Artur Stimpfl, and Klaus Wrensch, the technical and sales team that works in the development of new products, sales, and technical assistance in the German-speaking markets.

“The first thing is to stay in close contact with our customers, finding out what they need, as well as staying on top of developments in the IG market around the world: This is where we get the biggest ideas for researching innovative solutions” explains Ljerka Wiesenhofer, “but that's not all; it is imperative that we always be up to date on the technical regulations and the standards that form the framework for the market”. “Our customers are very open and willing to work with us; they trust our experience and believe in our potential”, adds Ruediger Reichardt. “We try to always stay in touch with our technical counterparts in the companies we work with -- the conversation that develops around skills and experiences is the primary source of new ideas”.

This close collaboration with customers and suppliers helps guide the team when making decisions during the development process; but that is not all, the greater or lesser availability of raw materials, the development of new materials, the environment, and sustainability are also major drivers in the development of new products.

It all comes down to intuiting the latest needs of the marketplace. “Our job is to be aware of change," explains Klaus Wrensch. "The developments we make to our products are the answers to questions we get every day from our customers. When markets begin to change, it is critical that we capitalize on these transformations and be out in front of demand from our customers”. In the last few years, there have been many changes in the field of insulating glass, notes Artur Stimpfl: “Fenzi and Alu-Pro had the skill and the artistry to grasp the need for new products ahead of the competition. Today we are the only group in the world that is able to provide its customers with a new range of highly innovative products, compatible with the latest technologies developed by the customers themselves, in addition to the more traditional high performance range of products that we offer and which have earned us a leadership position in the market”.

A positive example is the development that went into the FGS Flexible Glass Spacer, the latest brain child from Glass Alliance. “The Glass Alliance development team worked hard for two years and with persistence they found and optimized a solution", emphasizes Hansruedi Mäder, who also points out another key feature that works to the team's advantage. These results depend on the great number of individual skills, on support from laboratories and university institutes, and the work of suppliers. But, above all, on the fact that the team that developed this innovative product is made up of insulating glass experts who are also end users, and they are mindful of this point of view during the design phase”.

In a constantly changing market, the advantage for the group and for its customers, is the possibility to be able to count on an international network like Glass Alliance where Fenzi, Alu-Pro and Rolltech work together, and are able to take ideas and turn them into solutions. As Klaus Wrensch observes: “We don't sell products, we sell solutions”.

(Part 2 End – Part 1: Together Online 1-2013)

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