The mid-sized commercial vehicle parts retailer impresses for the second time in a row in the TOP 100 innovation competition
EUROPART has been awarded the TOP 100 seal for the second time in a row. Europe's leading trading company for commercial vehicle parts and workshop equipment, based in the town of Hagen and with a network of 300 sales outlets in 27 European countries, remains one of Germany's most innovative companies in 2022. In this year's TOP 100 competition, EUROPART enamoured the high-profile jury with a whole host of measures that go beyond the usual lengths trading companies go to in the business customer segment.
"Being awarded the TOP 100 seal once again provides yet more proof of EUROPART's sustained innovative prowess", says a delighted Olaf Giesen, CEO of EUROPART. "This achievement and the many innovations that led to it is thanks in no small part to a dedicated team of highly motivated and competent employees who work passionately day in day out to meet our customers' needs. I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to them."
High scientific accolade
EUROPART underwent a rigorous process of scientific selection for the top 100 competition. On behalf of compamedia, the organiser of the innovation competition, innovation researcher Prof. Nikolaus Franke and his team examined the innovations of all participating companies using around 100 test criteria from five categories: Innovation promoted by executive management, innovation climate, innovative processes and organisation, external orientation/open innovation, and innovation success. The scientists examined whether innovations within the company are the result of a planned approach or a product of chance.
The abundance of innovative ideas alone, which EUROPART has implemented in practice or will soon do so, shows that innovations are an integral part of the company's strategy. And not just with marketing, but also with digitalisation, the involvement and networking of employees, the inclusion of innovative, sustainable products in the delivery portfolio, and even with unusual partnerships with which EUROPART presents itself to HGV fleet operators as a provider of innovative solutions, even outside the classic spare parts business.
New ways of communicating with employees and customers
For a year now, EUROPART employees have been able to use their own employee app to network with each other across locations and countries, access messages or take part in video conferences. "The employee app allows us to reach all of our employees at any time – regardless of whether they are working at their desks, in the warehouse, or on the road", explains Olaf Giesen. In recent months, EUROPART has continued to expand this successful tool. EUROPART locations in 11 European countries are now hooked up to the network. An integrated translation software aids communication. The app now also boasts a corporate benefit scheme for employees, along with EUROPART's ideas and innovation management tool. "Over the past 12 months alone, our employees have submitted more than 150 suggestions for improvement and innovative ideas in this way, 98 percent of which we have already implemented or addressed – a roaring success", reports CEO Olaf Giesen.
EUROPART has also found innovative ways to communicate with its customers and has pushed ahead with the strategic expansion of online marketing, particularly with new video formats. EUROPART has specially converted a semi-trailer into a mobile television studio in which entertaining videos on interesting product and industry topics are now regularly produced together with important supplier partners. The result is called Fan-News TV, and one of the places it can be viewed is at www.vollblut.net/fan-news-tv. More than 500,000 visitors have already followed the EUROPART Fan-News TV programs on the website and on various social media channels.
Sustainable and innovative products result in increased CO2 and fuel savings
The fact that innovation at EUROPART does not stop at the delivery portfolio is demonstrated by the Green Energy solar modules. The Mobile-Integrated-Photovoltaic-Technology (MIPV), developed in Denmark by Green Energy Scandinavia, enables highly flexible, shockproof solar cells that are only three millimetres thick and ideally suited for mobile applications such as on trucks, buses, vans or motorhomes. The new cell technology also generates electricity – unlike conventional silicon cells – even in poor light intensity.
The solar modules fitted to the vehicle's roof provide the vehicle battery with enough electricity to power common consumers such as coffee machines, televisions or refrigerators. But the cells provide electricity not only when the vehicle is stationary, but also while driving. This lightens the load on the engine-powered generator and reduces the vehicle's fuel consumption.
EUROPART is not only supplementing its product range with this environmentally friendly technology, but has also become Green Energy's exclusive sales partner for Europe. The first projects with major customers are already underway.
Innovative partnerships as drivers for increased appreciation and sustainability
Green Energy’s solar technology also forms an integral part of the unusual but innovative collaboration with start-up roatel. Within the context of the European mobility package including the ban on spending the weekly rest period in the vehicle, roatel GmbH has developed micro-hotels, which, whilst providing a high level of comfort and living quality, are nevertheless easy to install and can even be erected on company premises, for instance. In an initial test phase, the Green Energy solar modules distributed by EUROPART will supply a 4-berth roatel with electricity. At the same time, the project partners are working to develop a sustainable technology to increase efficiency and optimise power consumption. What is more, EUROPART seeks to support roatel in the future with location-specific marketing, for example for large transport companies or workshop customers with sufficient space. EUROPART CEO Olaf Giesen: "We see roatel as a great solution for many professional drivers who spend day after day on Europe's roads. With our solar cell solution, we can also make the roatel concept more ecological."
Digital ordering and consulting system EWOS to be further expanded
Last but not least, digitalisation has been the subject of continuous development and innovation at EUROPART for years. On the one hand, it serves to simplify and accelerate processes, and on the other hand, to constantly improve functionality and benefits for the customer. For instance, the EUROPART online ordering and consulting system EWOS today features not just fast and reliable parts identification on the basis of the chassis number.
The user can also easily compare items, calculate prices, access fleet data as well as invoices and delivery notes in real time – seven days a week, 24 hours a day. What's more, users can access repair instructions, working times, maintenance schedules, and inspection and adjustment values in EWOS. In the version for mobile devices, the camera also doubles up as an item scanner and provides other convenient functions, such as the option to upload photos. In the latest version, it is even possible to find the right oils for every commercial vehicle based on manufacturer, model and type, along with all the relevant information regarding change intervals and filling quantities.
EUROPART has not only upgraded EWOS' functions, but also its content. Thanks to extensive data from around 130 new sources, the ordering and consulting system now comprises almost 2.2 million items, 35 million references and almost 1.5 million item images. In addition, new interfaces allow customers' enterprise resource planning systems to be easily integrated.
"Innovations are not an end in themselves for us", emphasises EUROPART CEO Olaf Giesen. "They are the foundation for a successful future. This is why we are also continuing to invest in innovative ideas and technologies for the benefit of our customers and our more than 1,700 employees. The fact that we have been awarded the TOP 100 seal, making us one of the 100 most innovative companies in Germany for the second time in a row, is testament to the fact that we are on the right track with this strategy."