MBA SCM Alumni behind the scenes @ EM

22.12.2016 | MBA SCM Alumni

Von:  Christophe Bilger

November is a good time to start with the end year festivities. It is not different for the ETH MBA SCM Alumni organization. These events represent a good opportunity to learn something, catch up with classmates, and enjoy dinner altogether.

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This year we were happy to have a “behind the scenes” view at EM. Located in Zürich, very close to the Hardbrücke railway station, this company is a major retailer for all electrical parts in Switzerland.

“Amazon of the electricians”

After a general introduction from the CEO, also ETH alumni, who talked about the history of the company and its current situation, the Head of MBA SCM Alumni outlined its operating model. The success of the company is based on very short lead times enabling electrical companies to “forget” about their supplies. They are able to deliver most of their assortment within hours. I guess not many of the participants were aware that EM is number 5 on e-commerce ranking in Switzerland (56% of the turnover is generated via the webshop), basically the “Amazon of the electricians”. Nevertheless, the counter shop itself is still well used probably due to its very convenient location and the option of a 24h collection of the items.

The remaining branches in Switzerland are organized in an autonomous manner, adapted to the culture and languages of the Swiss regions. Specialized subsidiaries like EM Elevite are attractively completing the offer.

Tour around “running orders”

The tour was performed while the preparation of the orders was running allowing a good understanding of the process. Around 8’000 orders of all sizes are processed every day. This includes not only Pick & Packing of the desired items, but also customization of electrical switches. Luckily an extensive customer support is available to help to navigate between the 300’000 available references (looking at the stock of cable rolls it is easy to understand why). The tracking of the orders is performed in the company’s own software. The tour gave the opportunity to continue the informal discussions.  

 After the tour, a final round of questions enabled the participants to clarify the last open questions.

Dinner time!

Dinner was arranged at the Costa Brava Restaurant, a well-known Spanish restaurant in Zürich. It was a nice environment to continue the discussion on the company visit, reflect on the current year, and make plans for the future.

This event marked the end of an exciting year 2016 for the alumni organization. Stay tuned for interesting events in 2017! 

About EM

  • 9 Branches and EM Elevite
  • 700 employees
  • 500 Million CHF turn over per year
  • 300’000 listed products
  • 2 million orders each year
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