The Purchasing department has built up an extensive supplier network over the years. List GC now has around 2200 subcontractors as partners. They supply everything from series screws to production machines for List GC, as well as stone packages produced in lot size one. Since List GC only manufactures individual pieces, this is generally the determining factor when it comes to the procurement of veneer, stone or other materials. These materials are also only purchased as required.
Many of the suppliers know the Purchasing team personally and communicate on equal terms. By equal terms here, we mean that they can rely on each other to obtain the best materials at the right time, in sufficient quantities and quality, and at the right price. Equal terms also means that both sides are flexible and therefore that the complex project structure and market conditions can be dealt with accordingly.
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As soon as it has been determined which materials the owners and designers wish to use, Purchasing is involved in the interior project. With the procurement plans in hand, the business professionals get to work – they obtain quotations, negotiate prices and are responsible for risk assessments and entering into contracts. The purchasers have to deal with draft contracts, customs regulations, warranties, liabilities and payment agreements. This shows just how important the interface function of the Purchasing team is: They know the market, the competition and the suppliers, while also maintaining an overview of the material requirements of all current projects within the company. They make recommendations for the project teams. They see themselves as service providers as well as sparring partners and, together, sound out material requirements with regards to practicality.
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Incorporated egg shells, mussels, feathers or tobacco leaves, panels with mother-of-pearl decoration, meticulously sewn leather work, surfaces finished with special lacquers and spatula techniques – luxurious interiors often impress with exceptional design surfaces. List GC produces these special surfaces in-house at Bad Erlach or commissions specialist manufacturers to do this. Visual artists are also often involved in the creation for an individual touch. As named suppliers, they are commissioned to design or finish a specific surface. The result, often after months of work, is valuable works of art which are then incorporated into the interior decoration according to the designer’s plans and in consultation with the project team. “One artist from England poured a surface from liquid metal for us, another makes illusion paintings, or ‘Trompe-l’œil’, and another specialises in the verre églomisé technique,” explains Franz Himmelsbach, Senior Purchaser at List GC and one of the most experienced employees on the Purchasing team. His job is also to get to know the artists personally. And he knows how much this simplifies the cooperation: They can support each other, help each other over any hurdles that arise and find solutions together again and again. Diplomatically, with flair, but also bearing in mind the delivery date specified in the contract.
The purchasing professionals at List GC specialise in individual material areas. They are familiar with the necessary characteristics and the special requirements of the product, such as fire safety. However, they also know their suppliers in this field, how they think and their approach. This is how expertise and knowledge of the market, which is so important for this job, are acquired over a number of years. Franz Himmelsbach has worked in Purchasing at List GC for over 20 years. In addition to his specialist and commercial background, he has an intercultural flair and good knowledge of human nature, which benefits him in numerous negotiations. However, the most important qualification – which is something Himmelsbach also gives young employees – is experience. And that comes with time.
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