Kutnak Automotive became a TecDoc data supplier at the end of 2019. The Czech family company is among the leading European suppliers of electrical equipment for trucks, trailers, buses, earth movers and agricultural machines. In this interview, CEO Hubert Kutnak Jr. explains why they decided to present their products in the TecDoc Catalogue and how they managed to take data management to a whole new level. He also discusses the company’s expansion plans.
Why did you decide to become a TecDoc Data Supplier?
We are a family company with a long tradition and young management. We present all our products digitally, on Instagram and Facebook, because the younger generation wants to access data that way. They don’t want a paper catalogue – that is a thing from 20 years ago. We know that TecDoc data is the basis of the e-shops of all the important distributors. If you want to be in the market, you have to be in TecDoc. There is no way without TecDoc.
What were your first steps? How did you experience the onboarding process?
At the very beginning of the project, I had an online meeting with Leon Beukes from TecAlliance. I must admit that I was shocked when I received all the manuals and information about data processing. I jokingly said to Leon that it would be easier to build a nuclear plant… But Leon was amazing! He helped me to build up our database step by step. And although I have no IT background, with his help and patience I managed to get the database set up and running after only one month. Leon also made some brilliant tutorial videos that are available on YouTube. These videos were very helpful because I could watch them whenever I wanted. And they are so well-made that I didn’t need his help anymore.
Now I feel like a TecDoc developer and I really like this work. It is such a great feeling that after one week you can see the results of your own work directly in the TecDoc Catalogue. This makes me feel like a bodybuilder, or what it is like when you build a house and you can see what you did after one week, after two weeks… It is great to get this direct feedback. Believe me – I never expected to get such positive feelings from a database.
Have you already onboarded all your product data?
We are preparing our data very carefully. I have a look at every single item because I want to find the exact OE cross-reference. Sometimes I even call the OEMs and ask them for support. Because we want to be 100 percent sure that our data in the TecDoc Catalogue is correct. You could say that this is a waste of time and that it would be easier to simply copy-paste existing references. But we don’t want to do that because it doesn’t fit in with our company philosophy. We are a family company, and we do business a little bit differently than others. I said to all my colleagues: We don’t sell numbers, we sell products! At the beginning, we supposed it would take a full year to onboard all our product data. Our careful and diligent approach has led to a delay of some months but now we have all the data available in the catalogue.
Can you already see changes or benefits from being in the TecDoc Catalogue?
When you join TecDoc, it’s somehow like presenting your new Bentley… When you can show your partners that you are on TecDoc, it proves that you are a “real” company. It’s a perfect advertisement and promotion and it gives me a good feeling that I can show my data to thousands of people. I can rely on the fact that my data is available in the TecDoc Catalogue one week after I send it.
You launch lots of new products every year that need to be added to the catalogue. How do you handle this process?
The process is more challenging with innovative products because we have to find a way to present them optimally in the TecDoc Catalogue. I’ll give you an example: We have developed rear-view cameras to increase safety for trailers and trucks. You can place the monitor somewhere in the cabin and use it to keep an eye on the surroundings of the truck or trailer. And we have not only developed the hardware but also software to connect the camera with your mobile phone. So you can also use the camera with your car; just put your mobile phone on the dashboard and see what is happening around you. At the moment, there are almost no competing products in the TecDoc Catalogue. The few existing products only have very brief descriptions, so we had to build up the product data from scratch.
It is really difficult to find the best way to present and market innovative products, but it is worth the effort. In fact, our development of a new product consists of two parts: We do research and development for the product, and we do research and development for the product data.
It is an advantage for us to stand out with our products because we have better product descriptions. In the TecDoc Catalogue we can optimally present our innovations to so many people. To stay with the example, we can show them that our video cameras, which we developed completely by ourselves, are a future product for anybody. Our company was launched by my grandfather Hubert Kutnak in 1939. I am now the third generation of Hubert Kutnaks in the company. It’s incredible that have increased the turnover by around 25 percent during the last three years. This is really exciting for us because we offer most of our products under our family name. With each product that we develop, we find a new way and new markets – it is really nice to see our success.
In which countries do you currently supply your products and are you planning to expand into other countries in the future?
In the Czech Republic we have the longest borders to German-speaking countries, so we are deeply connected with these markets. In fact, we supply our products to the whole EU except for Italy and Portugal. We are planning to open a subsidiary in Spain within the next three years. Of course we want to develop new markets in the Russian Federation. We are currently getting the necessary certificates for our products so that we can soon open a new office in St. Petersburg. TecDoc optimally supports our expansion plans: All catalogue data are multilingual and the information from automotive players is translated to Russian. For Russian customers that is really helpful.
My motto is: “Think locally, do business globally.” We are thinking locally because we really find our employees locally; the maximum is 35 kilometres. And global is the way with TecDoc. TecDoc has my back and supports me in getting access to any country.
What are your plans regarding further collaboration with TecAlliance?
In the last one and a half years, since we decided to become a TecDoc data supplier, we have been changing and developing a lot of things. It’s like a wave. And that is why we are planning to join the Order Manager platform. For this year, I have two wishes: My first wish is to overcome Covid-19, and my second wish is to start with Order Manager.