A hidden champion in the Ruhr region


Roller bearings, linear motion technology, and an unrivalled product range.
Friedrich PICARD GmbH & Co. KG just keeps on growing.

Founded in Bochum, Germany, in 1922, Friedrich PICARD GmbH & Co. KG is a specialised wholesaler of roller bearings and linear motion technology products. In recent years, the Company has further expanded its headquarters by investing over 17.5 million euros to increase its warehouse floor space and modern office complex, thus more than doubling its capacity.

An impressive 11,289 square metres (121,500 sq ft) of the site is now occupied by buildings, or slightly more than a third of its 32,761 square metres (352,600 sq ft) of land. “We are growing steadily. It was also clear fairly quickly that the area we occupied in 2012 would need to continue to expand,” remarks Managing Director Hans-Martin Reinhardt, confidently. “This is an investment in a successful future that we will shape together with our team.”

In addition to the state-of-the-art office building, considerable added value has been achieved, particularly in terms of the site’s warehousing capacity. In fact, the site’s storage area and number of pallet spaces have been doubled to 10,357 square metres (111,482 sq ft) and 12,000 places, respectively. Meanwhile, the large, three-level shelving rack facility boasts some 200,000 storage spaces.

Linear motion technology from the market leaders

Special attention was also paid to the site’s new linear motion technology centre. The spacious, 571-square-metre (6,141-sq-ft) facility houses two fully automatic cutting machines, which ensure that rails can be cut, deburred and shipped on the same day, provided orders are placed by 7 p.m. CET, so that customers receive their consignments as rapidly as possible. PICARD distinguishes itself in yet another way from many of its competitors: The Company carries linear motion technology products from all six market leaders – BOSCH Rexroth, INA, THK, NSK, Schneeberger and SKF – and stocks all common standard sizes, from miniature to size 65.

Roller bearings from the premium brands

As a medium-sized business, PICARD stands out, above all, due to its extensive product range. In fact, the thirdgeneration, family-run company now owned by Marc Picard permanently stocks over 40,000 items with a net value of 42 million euros. The wholesaler is particularly well positioned in the premium roller bearing segment, as it carries brands such as SKF, FAG, INASCHAEFFLER, ELGES, NSK, NTN/SNR, NKE, ZEN, TIMKEN and KS PERMAGLIDE. And despite its already large selection, PICARD is constantly expanding its range. Indeed, new brands – the most recent being DURBAL and NADELLA – and production series are being steadily added to enlarge the overall PICARD assortment.

Innovative logistics services

In addition to stocking a vast range of products, the ‘hidden champion’ is also impressive both as an employer and in terms of its outstanding logistical performance from its location in Germany’s Ruhr region. Customers who place their orders by 7 p.m. CET on Mondays to Thursdays, and by 5 p.m. CET on Fridays, are guaranteed same-day dispatch by the Company. For very urgent cases, PICARD offers a special EXPRESS COURIER service at fixed terms and conditions, whereby the required goods leave the PICARD logistics centre no later than 30 minutes after the order has been received.

The specialists at the Bochum-based company also handle organisational matters in an uncomplicated manner.

For shipments outside the EU, the PICARD team prepares all necessary customs documents at no extra charge. And time-saving electronic customs clearance procedures have been standard practice for years. For customers who wish to save time and lower their logistics overhead, PICARD also offers a discreet direct-shipment service, whereby it ships goods directly to the customer’s individual customers – in a neutral manner, in the customer’s name, and accompanied by their delivery note. “This eliminates unnecessary waiting times and double shipping,” explains Reinhardt, who himself began his career at PICARD by apprenticing to become a wholesale and export sales agent. “End customers thereby receive their products quickly and without any unexpected complications.”

The PICARD onlineshop, meanwhile, provides customers with a quick and easy overview of the product range, delivery options, and associated shipping costs. A special feature of the Web-based shop are the three discrete shopping baskets that can be concurrently filled by the customer. This may seem complicated at first glance, but it makes it easier to distinguish between stock orders and current requirements, for example. Meanwhile, the shop’s flexible linear motion configurator makes it possible to immediately obtain the price and availability of a product by entering the required quantity, rail length and bore spacing. PICARD also offers this configurator to its customers as a plugin for their own websites to make it easier for their customers to inquire about and order linear motion technology products. As part of its ongoing digitalisation measures, PICARD is offering its customers a variety of versatile models.

Customized digitalisation models on demand

At PICARD DIGITAL, simplification is a major priority. The Bochumbased company offers its customers the opportunity to take a further step toward digitalisation by simply and practically integrating inventories and item master data into their own merchandise management system and online shop. Using a digital catalogue, they can import the complete PICARD product range of around 40,000 items into their online shops and thus offer it directly to their own customers. For live data sharing, there are a number of interfaces available that enable deeper integration. For PICARD customers, this makes having to manually update master data, such as manufacturer list prices, a thing of the past. And PICARD DIGITAL can offer them even more. For example, documents transmitted by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) can be further processed automatically, thereby making daily procedures much more efficient for both parties. Furthermore, PICARD offers its EDI customers a best-price guarantee, whereby all ordered items are consistently charged at the lowest applicable price. PICARD customers benefit from easy process handling, access to an exceptionally large selection of products – and thereby added sales opportunities with their customers.

A further advantage of being a PICARD customer is the Company’s in-house quality management. PICARD is constantly working on further developing its intelligent warehousing processes in order to guarantee customers consistent top quality. PICARD employs ID-Check, a system specially developed for verifying deliveries of drivetrain systems. ID-Check verifies the authenticity of the delivered goods by mass-scanning data matrix codes.

Co-developed with oneIDentity+, the ID-Check process relies on a variety of state-of-the-art high-performance scanners (selected according to the type of goods being processed) and a software application, combined with asynchronous data queries. By using ID-Check, PICARD has achieved transparency across all in-house goods flows. As for goods purchased from retailers, ID-Check ensures that customers only receive genuine, trademark-compliant merchandise.

Sounds digital? It certainly is. But without being impersonal. There are currently 180 employees from 32 different nations at PICARD in the Ruhr region, all working to ensure that day-to-day business runs smoothly. The Company’s international sales team is composed of native-speakers from 19 countries advising customers from around the world in 17 different languages with the aim of always finding the best logistics solution. This team is certainly one of the cornerstones of the Bochum-based company’s success. In 2018, PICARD supplied 3,364 customers in 79 countries, generating around 95 million euros in total sales revenue. Suffice it to say that the family-owned company’s move back to Bochum about seven years ago has been worth it. After all, sales in 2018 totalled more than twice the 46 million euros it collected in 2012. Fresh thinking pays. And so does envisioning a digital future. PICARD GmbH & Co. KG is the best proof of this.

Source: BearingNEWS magazine