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Techniques & Tools Technology, Liquid Chromatography

The Vendor’s Vendor

Tell us about your role in the OEM business...

I have been with KNAUER for 22 years now, and I’m currently a Group Leader in the OEM group, taking care of our third-party customers. In our OEM business, KNAUER sells whole instruments or components in custom-made housing solutions to other instrument vendors. Some companies co-label the technology; for example, international radio-pharmaceutical company Eckert & Ziegler partner with KNAUER to offer liquid chromatography capabilities, while ensuring a quality product for their customers. However, much of our work is private label, and therefore confidential, which can sometimes make it hard to promote this side of the business!

Why do you enjoy working in OEM?

I think it’s one of the most exciting jobs in the company, at least for people who like to collaborate. Every day we tackle different topics, different instruments, and different needs. We enjoy sitting down with our customers “backstage” and discussing how we can realize their ideas. Of course, you could say that some of our customers are competitors in other areas of the business, but here in the OEM group we don’t look at it that way. We understand that the market is huge, so we think that more – and, in particular, better – instruments on the market is a good thing.

Do ideas from the OEM business ever inform the instrument business?

Absolutely! It’s not just the business itself that makes OEM so valuable to KNAUER, but the influx of new ideas that it brings. Our customers often have very different ideas to us about how they arrange things or think about the market, and sometimes that causes us to re-evaluate our own technology and strategies.

Why do customers choose KNAUER as an OEM?

There are many reasons. One is certainly that KNAUER is a financially independent company, not listed on the stock exchange market – we don’t have to report to a “higher authority,” so we have the freedom to make our own decisions and our own patents. For technology partners, it’s often important to work with an independent company with full access to its technology.

Our agile approach is another aspect that customers often comment on. We are a very flexible team; we have time for our customers – that can be a rare thing in today’s world. With some companies you have to book meetings months ahead, but we try to be much more flexible, and we’re known for making and carrying out development plans quickly and efficiently. We are not just a supplier; we work with the customer and actively suggest ways to make projects run smarter and in a more time effective way.

What makes KNAUER different?

The team here is highly motivated. In larger companies, you often find the wrong attitude; for example, employees might think that talking about instrumentation at great length is boring, but we love it! We are passionate about discovering the active goals of our customers – and then supporting them successfully into the market. It can be a challenge, but every time we succeed, it really motivates us.

Where does your own enthusiasm for analytical chemistry stem from?

I specialized early in instrumental analytics as a result of my studies in biochemistry. My PhD focused on measuring the metabolic processes within an “artificial liver” system, designed to keep patients alive while they wait for a liver transplant. It was certainly exciting work but, more importantly, it gave me a real sense of how analytical chemistry can change people’s lives. Taking great pride in our work and the role that we play in the impact of analytical science is shared among all KNAUER employees – whatever the group.

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About the Author
Markus Fuchs

I have been with KNAUER for 22 years now, and I’m currently a Group Leader in the OEM group, taking care of our third-party customers.

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