13 Apr 2024

ERIKS & Festo celebrate partnership 25th Anniversary

ERIKS & Festo 25th Anniversary

ERIKS Industrial Services and Festo UK & Ireland are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their partnership with a host of activities that will develop the relationship further and continue to grow business for their mutual benefit.

The two businesses started working with each other in the 1990s, firstly at a local level but as Paul Lynch, Chief Commercial Officer for UK & Ireland at ERIKS commented: “We wanted to become a national presence in the UK with a pneumatics offering and we wanted that brand to be Festo due to the quality of their products. Festo were looking, for the first time, at what they could achieve by embracing distribution, which wasn’t part of their DNA, and so both businesses took a leap of faith on each other and here we are 25 years later celebrating our silver wedding anniversary.”

The full catalogue of Festo’s standard products is available via ERIKS with the fast-moving products stocked at their FCE (Fulfilment Centre of Expertise) in Oldbury as well as the range of configurable products. A recent area of development has been the addition of energy saving services such as compressed air audits that the two businesses are working closely on.

Andy Parker-Bates, Relationship Development Manager at Festo highlighted other initiatives where the two businesses are combining their strengths: “We recently had 12 of ERIKS’ sales team take part in their P111 Fundamentals in Pneumatics training course at our Northampton facility which enables them to provide a first line of support to the customers and we also train many of ERIKS’ end users either at our HQ on at their own site.”

Over the years there have been a number of firsts achieved as a result of the partnership. ERIKS was Festo’s first £1 million annual spend account in the UK and the first distributor to spend £1 million pounds annually. It was also the first EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) Distributor for Festo and there has been a “Logistics revolution” according to Paul Lynch, which in the early years saw Festo products transported daily from Northampton to Halesowen and then out to the local branch network. “That was seen as cutting edge back in the day” says Paul “but now we are not reliant on a local branch network to deliver products. We have removed that obstacle from our system, and we now ship directly overnight from the FCE which is the Amazon-type experience people now expect.

“Rather than unpacking boxes our local teams are now focused on helping customers solve supply chain and technical challenges. They have the time and the knowledge to understand their customers’ businesses and to solve their problems practically and quickly”. Of the future relationship, Swapnil Khedekar, Head of operations at Festo UK and Ireland said: “Distribution is a big part of our global strategy going forward, but we have some big topics ahead of us in relation to both technology change, the move away from pneumatics to electrical systems and the shift in terms of knowledge, not just for specifying the parts but also how to maintain them in the future. The work we are doing with ERIKS helps us address these topics.”

Andy Parker-Bates, Relationship Development Manager added: “In pneumatics our future direction is more around intelligence, capability and the monitoring and control of compressed air. To be able to benefit from that end users need to be able to work with partners that have got those skills. Last year we had an ‘automation day’ which ERIKS attended, and this enabled them to assist customers in those areas. It’s an area we are developing together.”

There are innumerable ideas as to how the relationship can progress with business not only taking place between the two in the UK and Ireland but also across Europe. ERIKS has just added a further £35,000 of Festo stock at their FCE and now holds all the commonly required parts for next day delivery. The partners are also exploring sharing industry specific learnings, the sharing of best practice across companies and sectors to help create better solutions faster. ERIKS are also further improving the product knowledge of its front-line teams around the country so that customers get the best advice on both specifying the right product and stock availability. In addition, they are exploring how to speed up the development of engineered solutions through the partnership.

Paul Lynch concluded: “After 25 years, some start to take partners for granted, ERIKS and Festo are very much renewing our vows and setting off on a series of exciting adventures together.”

Company info: Festo