Interview with Michael Hußmann, managing director of Display Elektronik, and Thomas Biller, product manager for semiconductors and optoelectronics at Schukat
How long has Display Elektronik existed and what are you known for?
Hußmann: Display Elektronik GmbH was founded in 1984 – that is, since the start of LCD technology. We are well known for our comprehensive standard range and outstanding market availability of our products. At the same time, we work entirely in the interests of our customers and are constantly developing new market-oriented products, without simply giving up on our supposedly “older” products. Customers also benefit from our fast, customised service.
Why do Schukat and Display Elektronik work together?
Biller: Our collaboration has been in place since 1993. Back then, everything started with two seven-segment LCDs, which we actually still supply today. After that, Display Elektronik steadily built up its range of products and we supplied them accordingly through Schukat. The reason is straightforward enough: we enjoy working with Display Elektronik very much, because as a producer they offer an almost complete range of high-quality LCD displays, from basic 7-segment displays all the way to TFT displays with touch panels, all at extremely competitive prices. But it’s also important to us to be able to present our customers with a German LCD manufacturer, because they can then get the best technical support: short reaction times for enquiries or claims are one of Display Elektronik's hallmarks.
How important is Schukat as a distributor for Display Elektronik?
Hußmann: Schukat is an exceptionally reliable partner. With their stability – including with contact people within the company – we have built up an exceptionally trusting relationship and work together like true partners. Our goals are to continue to grow together with Schukat, to offer both new and older products on the market, and to have happy customers. For us, product distribution is crucial because it leads to regular, reliable business, which in turn increases our market availability and penetration.
How do customers benefit from the collaboration?
Hußmann: In Schukat and the support they offer, smaller and medium-sized customers find a "better" partner, in particular when it comes to buying a variety of products. While are certainly specialists in displays, a customer can, in principle, find everything they need with the distributor.
Biller: For our customers, it's an enormous advantage that we are able to offer fast, direct technical support for the LCD screens, simply because of our close working relationship with Display Elektronik. Their reliability when it comes to keeping delivery deadlines means that we are able to maintain suitable quantities of their products in stock.
What joint aims do you have for the next few years?
Hußmann: Firstly, we're planning our mutual growth. New projects now account for up to 80% of TFT displays. In the last two to three years, we have greatly expanded our standard range in this area. In this difficult market, we believe we have always provided good solutions for customers in terms of long-term product availability. In contrast to some of our competitors, we source possible successor models in advance of a discontinuation and, as a rule, announce this ahead of the last-time-buy date among our customers. In the last eight years, we have almost always been able to find an alternative solution for customers.
Which Display Elektronik products does Schukat currently sell?
Biller: We now carry practically all of Display Elektronik's standard LCD and OLED displays, and almost all direct from stock. At the end of 2017, we added the new LED backlights and ePaper to our range, and we are currently filling out our range to include the latest TFT displays and ASTN LCD graphics displays. These new products are now in stock.
What application areas are these products used in?
Hußmann: Display Elektronik's displays have been used exclusively in industrial applications for more than thirty years, for example in testing and control equipment, medical engineering, telecommunications, power engineering, building services, sensor technology, automotive and audio equipment. Basically, wherever displays are used.
What makes Display Elektronik unique? What are your USPs?
Hußmann: Our products, most importantly, respond to the market. We place great importance on – from today's perspective – good, long-term availability, and use displays that are intended from the start for the industrial market. Of course, one can offer displays from the consumer market at a lower price, but the question is, for how long? Usually just once. Our customers benefit from long-term availability and fair market prices, and the products are, for the most part, also available in quantity direct from stock.
Are customised products also available in addition to the standard range?
Hußmann: Yes. We specialise in this area. More than half of our business is customer-specific in nature. We supply fully customised products, but also tailored adaptations to our standard products. We are now also able to deliver customer-specific TFT displays. And, of course, we also supply standard monochrome LCDs. In this area in particular, it's important to have experience and intensive communication with both your customer and the manufacturing side.
Biller: For customer-specific modifications, Schukat acts as an intermediary between the customer and the supplier. We are also available to deal with any questions concerning displays.