AYMA Herramientas has been working with MAPAL since 1970
We interviewed Jesús M. García Lanciego, Managing Director of the commercial agency, and discussed, among other things, how to gain the trust of customers and how good communication and international contacts contribute to this.
AYMA Herramientas is a long-standing partner and one of the largest commercial agencies to work together with MAPAL in Europe. The family business employs around 80 people and has established a trading network throughout Spain. In addition to its headquarters in Ezkio-Itsaso, AYMA has offices in Vitoria (Álava), Gijón (Asturias) and La Llagosa (Barcelona). The company also has branch offices in Madrid, Bollullos de la Mitacion (Seville), Valencia (Valencia) and Bilbao (Vizcaya). Jesús García Uralde, the father of the current managing director Jesús M. García Lanciego, founded the commercial agency in 1959 together with other partners.
Ezkio-Itsaso is located in the Basque Country. The small region on the Atlantic coast was once the centre of the Spanish steel and shipyard industry. AYMA’s business was initially based on the sale of special steels for machine engineering. Precision tools were added in the 1980s – today the company concentrates entirely on this market and offers customers a comprehensive range and individual process solutions.
Mr. Garcia, how long have AYMA and MAPAL been working together and how did the partnership come about?
Our cooperation began in the 1970s. My father contacted MAPAL at the time and spoke to the Managing Partner back then, Dr Georg Kress, about the possibilities of a commercial agency. He wanted to create a second mainstay for AYMA by selling precision tools. Since my father was on site with the customers anyway, he wanted to present them with a more versatile product range. In principle it was a logical step since the buyers of the special steels were potential customers for precision tools that they could use to process the steel.
What happened next?
So after that AYMA entered the market with the first tools from MAPAL. Initially these were reamers, milling tools and tools with guide pads, which quickly brought us success. MAPAL expanded the product and service range in the following years and we then expanded our range to include the new releases as well. Today, AYMA is present throughout Spain with eight sites and we’re able to react quickly and flexibly to the needs of our customers. Our customers come primarily from the machine engineering and automotive industries. But we’re also active in the aerospace sector, with suppliers and many small companies that manufacture the most diverse products.
You´ve since given up steel distribution and now trade exclusively in precision tools.
The steel business became more difficult in the 1980s. We decided at the time to focus solely on trade with precision tools. We knew we were well positioned with MAPAL tools and had the necessary expertise to move forward.
What does that mean for your customers?
Our customers can rely on us developing the best machining solution for every application. Our close cooperation with the specialists from MAPAL has always proved worthwhile. We support users in the design and commissioning of new tools right through to the optimisation of machine processes. We’re there for you virtually every step of the process. We take care of the downstream processes and offer customers a comprehensive after-sales service. We keep a range of common standard tools at all AYMA sites, we have various tool management systems in our programme and, if required, we set up a consignment stock for the customer. We also carry out repairs or the reconditioning of tools.
What´s the secret of the long-standing relationship between AYMA and MAPAL?
Both MAPAL and AYMA are family businesses. Both companies stand for continuity in terms of the staff and this creates a lot of trust among customers. As well as this, we maintain a similar corporate culture. We focus heavily on quality, service and innovation. We claim to be at the cutting edge of technology. AYMA benefits from the fact that MAPAL has been consistently expanding its product and service range for decades and is providing strong impetus with new tool developments. This has greatly enhanced our market position in Spain. We have to keep in mind the dynamics with which the automotive industry has developed here in this country. And MAPAL knows the requirements of this sector very well. This is also evident in the field of electric mobility. We see good opportunities there and already have some customers that we are supplying with the appropriate tools from MAPAL.
Are there any other members of your family who are involved with AYMA?
Yes, my brother Luis Garcia (55) also works in the company. He joined AYMA in 1988 and has been with us a little longer than me. Luis has worked in various fields. He started in Sales, where he specialised in the large machine tool manufacturers. He now heads up our Madrid office and serves one of our largest customers.
How intensive would you say the cooperation with MAPAL is?
Our employees are in daily contact with the MAPAL Customer Service team and communication runs smoothly and directly. We’re also in contact with the technicians and development engineers at MAPAL. This is important because larger projects usually involve a corresponding number of custom tools. With technical support from MAPAL, we can optimise the process as soon as the tools are commissioned. Errors do not occur in the first place. It is quite common with major customers that employees from other MAPAL sites are also involved in projects. We have personal contacts there too, which is of course a huge advantage for the customer. In this way, we avoid duplicating work in the design of processes. Everything runs quickly, easily and efficiently.
And how does than pan out in real life?
I can think of two projects with major automobile manufacturers. First, there was a project with FORD. When we first started working with FORD, we worked closely with the specialists at company headquarters and the MAPAL subsidiary in the UK. The work involved a new machining process. We were very well supported in the design and commissioning of the tools. Our concept was perfect and this has had an extremely positive effect on subsequent projects, both here in Spain and at FORD’s other factories abroad. The same applies to our projects with RENAULT. Here, we’ve been working very closely with the MAPAL team in France for many years and have enjoyed lasting success here as well. Projects like these have earned us great trust from our customers.
Where can I get more information about the AYMA Herramientas commercial agency?
Anyone interested in finding out more can visit our website www.ayma.es and get an overview of our company and our range of services. Our catalogues are also available to download there. Our staff at the headquarters in Ezkio-Itsaso and at our branch offices will be happy to answer your queries. At the moment, the best way to reach them is by email or telephone. But we hope that in the post-coronavirus world, we’ll be able to focus more on face-to-face meetings again. And maybe we’ll even meet at a visit to a trade fair again. We regularly have a stand at BIEMH (International Machine-Tool Biennial Exhibition) in Bilbao and at Metal Madrid.
Jesús M. García Lanciego | CEO | Ayma Herramientas
Jesús M. García Lanciego (57) studied engineering and joined the commercial agency AYMA HERRAMIENTAS in 1989. He initially worked in the technical area to drive the development of the tool programme.