Constant innovation with top technology, premium software, and well-qualified employees are the prerequisites for competitive products. This is what people expect from Gugelfuss. However, top products also demand perfect service, whether for trade partners or end customers, for service creates trust and stable customer relationships.
The success of this Swabian family-owned company, which was founded in 1891 as a cooperage, relies on consistent attention to these prerequisites. Today, Martin Gugelfuss manages the company together with his uncle and co-Managing Director Anton Gugelfuss and his sister Susanne Gugelfuss-Dannerbauer (Authorized Representative).
The light and airy production facility of the main Elchingen plant fascinates with its architecture, but still more with its high-tech interior life. This is where Gugelfuss, a company with a long tradition, produces its main product: high-quality PVC windows.
Another "PVC location" is the Beerwalde plant in Thuringia, whose logistics are closely connected to the main plant in Oberelchingen. Aluminum elements such as exterior doors, windows, and façades are produced in the Straß location near Elchingen.
Only the finest high technology
A company that produces up to 1000 windows and doors each day requires perfectly coordinated processes for the best throughput with reliable quality. This was the underlying principle during reconstruction of the Elchingen plant in 2013. In 2017, Gugelfuss put the new, completely automatic Schirmer processing center into operation; it now provides generous production capacities.
However, high production performance begins right with storage logistics: the processing center is fed quickly and reliably from a state-of-the-art high-rack storage system with 470 slots. In addition to the standard Veka profiles, order-related color profiles are managed there.
The high-tech processing center, which has an intelligent interface controlled by A+W Cantor, processes PVC profiles up to 6.5 m long. From these, workpieces are created with a part length between 230 mm and 2800 mm. The steel reinforcements are cut completely automatically by the integrated automatic cutting machine, inserted, and screwed in.
The steel reinforcement machine handles further processings before passing the profile to the welded part setting station. Finally, the profiles are stacked automatically in slot carts and passed on to welding.
With this automation step, the company was able to increase the production capacity of the Elchingen plant by 30%.
All workplaces are equipped with A+W Cantor CIM Monitors. This way, machine operators on the welding machines can always see which profiles they must insert from which slots. Together with the barcode registration, this created a continuous information system – order folders, hand sketches, and other production papers are now a thing of the past. Each employee sees precisely the information he needs on his workstation. The position of each frame, sash, and insulated glass unit is known at all times.
fAt the end of the production chain, an automatic glass buffer ensures that the correct sheet is always ready for glazing. Workers on the glazing line scan the label on the frame or sash. The sheet is then guided by the A+W Cantor system out of the buffer and to glazing: a secure system that requires no searching.
Clever market cultivation
70% of products are sold via trade partners, primarily in Southern Germany, but also in Switzerland where Gugelfuss AG handles sales, and also in Italy and France.
However, right on the company's doorstep, approx. 40 km around Elchingen, Gugelfuss relies on its own installation service for end customers, architects, and developers.
Here, the company's management believes in making the job of installation crews and partners as easy as possible thanks to maximum pre-configuration: "That is why we deliver our elements with pre-drilled dowel holes; the additional bars are already cut, the screws included, the couplings prepared," explains Managing Director Martin Gugelfuss. "This ensures that the time required on the construction site is as short as possible."
For Gugelfuss, this end customer business is an indispensable element of customer-oriented market cultivation. You're close to the customer, you understand the flows and requirements, and you maintain relationships that frequently last for decades. Direct feedback from the installers provides important information about technical details and potential improvements.
Manage networked locations
Intelligent A+W Cantor multi-site software ensures optimal utilization and intelligent logistics within the corporate group – this was one of the most important criteria when Gugelfuss decided to introduce new, comprehensive software in 2006.
The A+W Cantor system distributes the orders flexibly across the various locations. Accordingly, production orders can be taken apart according to technical criteria and for optimal utilization and then reassembled at the end of the production chain – A+W Cantor does this automatically. Delivery across Europe by the company's own fleet is controlled from the logistics center in Elchingen. The trade partner will never know whether the windows are produced in Elchingen or Beerwalde or provided by an external supplier.
The efficiency factor of the A+W Cantor software at Gugelfuss is high: "There is no building block that we cannot handle with A+W Cantor," explains Managing Director Martin Gugelfuss. "We work almost 100% with A+W Cantor."
A+W Cantor resellers: incorporating trade partners online
Another requirement of the new software was seamless integration of high-performance online dealer software. Dealers access a central Gugelfuss database so that the data is always up-to-date and updates can be performed centrally.
With A+W Cantor Reseller, Gugelfuss partners can create their own quotations and use these to trigger the order to Gugelfuss. Thanks to the up-to-date data, dealers can quote an accurate price. The share of online orders continues to increase and is currently approx. 40-45%. Technical restrictions ensure that each element ordered can also actually be built.
Thanks to technically correct online orders placed by experienced dealers, Gugelfuss can keep in-house order entry to a minimum. Orders received online are only checked and then forwarded to production.
The brand for windows and doors
Like hardly any other construction element manufacturer, Gugelfuss has succeeded in making its brand known for high-quality products in Southern Germany and nearby foreign countries.
This is due in part to the company's careful support of dealers, e.g. through regular partner meetings, but the incorporation of dealers with A+W Cantor Reseller also plays a large part.
At the same time, Gugelfuss has positioned itself successfully as a full-range provider, even if production of wood items is handled via partnerships. All of this creates the best prerequisites for continuing to grow on a difficult market with quality products and outstanding service.