Top sound made by hand: The recipe for success is "Made in Germany" for Heilbronn-based audio specialist beyerdynamic MANUFAKTUR
August 01, 2011
Heilbronn, in August 2011: Globalisation to buck the trend: in contrast to German window makers, automobile manufacturers, stuffed animal producers or battery fabricators, all of whom outsource portions of their manufacturing abroad to then ship it back again, beyerdynamic has remained true to the company's location in Germany. Today, microphones and headphones are still being made primarily by hand in Heilbronn.
This is based more on economic than nostalgic reasons: the low level of automation makes high flexibility and quick adaptation to changing market conditions possible. Fluctuations in demand in individual target markets can be better compensated for, thus avoiding excessive stock levels. Even small series and individual custom-made pieces – special designs on customer request from beyerdynamic MANUFAKTUR - are easily possible.
Quality assurance as the highest goal
The “human factor” in the manufacturing process also has other advantages. Only on site, with highly-specialised colleagues, can we fulfil our promise of high performance that customers all over the world associate with the name of beyerdynamic. Since the company’s founding in 1924, it stands for the best sound in every situation – onstage, in the recording studio or conference room as well as on mobile MP3 players or at home on the stereo system.
The “made by hand” manufacturing also ensures a particularly high level of team motivation. Based upon the principle of “one-piece-flow”, a product stays at the same workstation during assembly, from the first screw to the final inspection. This allows the colleagues to see the results of their craftsmanship every day and also to carry the responsibility for their workmanship.
The high quality standards can also be seen in customer service. Providing purchasers with replacement parts for the products is not an issue: “For our headphone classics we can even offer new ear cushions that fit after more than 20 years”, explains Werner Hautzinger, Head of the Service Department. A cult object such as the DT 880 headphones then feels like new – and brings its wearer just as much pleasure as on the very first day.
It’s not just the hi-fi fans that have been loyal to the natural beyerdynamic sound for decades that benefit from the high manufacturing standards. Professional musicians from all over the world also like to reach for the “Made in Germany” products. Industry legends such as “The Beatles”, Abba, David Bowie, Bob Dylan or Udo Lindenberg have all sung into the microphones from Heilbronn.
Just as impressive: the references from the company’s conference technology division, an important branch for the Heilbronn-based audio specialists with an almost 50 percent share in its turnover. The Federal Labour Court takes advantage of beyerdynamic technology, as does the economic organisation OECD in Paris and the Ministry of Finance in Nigeria. For example, they all use the patented Revoluto system: the square, puristically-designed terminals allow the speaker considerably more freedom of movement than a classic gooseneck microphone. (Reference list found at www.beyerdynamic.com/references)
Engineering talent as a factor for success
Innovations such as Revoluto have always characterised the company. From the world’s first digital studio microphone to the 5.1 surround headphone system Headzone to the Tesla technology of today that makes extremely effective and therefore great sounding headphones possible. Added to this is the award-winning product design. From the Red Dot Design Award to the nomination for the Federal Republic of Germany’s Design Award, the list of distinctions is long. “With our background, we stand for engineering talent and excellent quality. The ‘Made in Germany’ label is still seen as much more than an advertising statement abroad”, says Managing Director Wolfgang Luckhardt.
A large portion of the products is thus exported to Asia, where it is quickly sold. After Western Europe, the Asian continent is the largest foreign market for beyerdynamic. Products from Heilbronn are in demand like never before – and, of all places, in the land of cheap labour.
Customisation on customer request
With the most modern methods of “mass customisation”, customers can individually design their products and order them through the Internet. An online configurator, using the automobile industry as a role model, allows a choice to be made between various colours, materials and feature variations. For example, the classic M 88 TG microphone can be ordered with an engraving of one’s personal vocal curve. The patent-pending “Voice Print” makes the microphone one of a kind. Purchasers of aviation or gaming headsets have the same configuration possibilities on the Internet as the sound enthusiasts who want to put together their hi-fi headphones to suit their individual needs. The youngest member of the MANUFAKTUR family is the T 50 p MANUFAKTUR with innovative materials, e.g. buckskin and salmon leather (Nanai), which provides the headphones an extravagant impression.
Orders from all over the world
beyerdynamic MANUFAKTUR is not only available to our German customers. “We receive orders from all over the world. Our foreign distribution partners also take advantage of this offer to highlight the competence of beyerdynamic as a manufacturer of customised audio products. Even special models for anniversaries or other celebrations are no problem”, explains David Thimm, Business Unit Leader Consumer Products at beyerdynamic.
Customisation is part of the package in conference halls and everywhere where the technology from Heilbronn is used. Whether discreet wood decor for the conference table, colourful lacquers or a marble look with an historic touch in church environments – beyerdynamic always helps to reconcile the ideas of the architect with acoustic requirements. In Germany and all over the world.
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