Handiwork “Made in Austria”: at Neuroth, many of the earplugs are manufactured using 3D printers and then fine-tuned by hand. Seen here in the double portrait picture are Neuroth Chairman Thomas Perissutti (l.) and DB Schenker product manager René Gutschi
Photos: Lukas Ilgner
Whether you prefer rock or techno, listening to music at a concert or a club is often more than just an acoustic delight. It can also be an ear-piercing experience. Quite literally. The metallic twang of electric guitars and the powerful sounds of a booming bass can place a significant strain on the ears. This can be remedied by resorting to hearing protection devices of the kind produced by Neuroth. However, these acoustic devices are not only geared towards music fans. The manufacturer from Austria also produces ear plugs for athletes and handymen under the brand name Earwear. Neuroth’s product range is complemented by a line designed for light sleepers, swimmers and huntsmen. The stylish and highly effective products are “Made in Austria” – and are available online, thanks to the "netlivery" e-commerce solution from DB Schenker.
“As a leading manufacturer of hearing protection systems, we not only care deeply about people with hearing deficiencies. We also attach great importance to keeping people’s hearing healthy,” says Thomas Perissutti, Chairman of Neuroth AG, during a tour of the plant in Wolfsberg im Schwarzautal, in the southeast of Austria. “A while ago, we asked ourselves: what could we do to make hearing protection ‘younger’?” And the answer was Earwear, which is available in various colors and materials, from soft silicone to titanium.
“We broke new ground by launching the Earwear online shop. The complete solution of web shop, order management, warehousing and transport won us over” Thomas Perissutti, Chairman Neuroth AG
The bulk of the product line is based on acrylate blanks or preforms from the 3D printer that are then hand-produced and fine-tuned. Using 3D printers in manufacturing is cutting edge and uncharted territory for producers in many sectors as well as for logistics companies. But in the case of Neuroth, this new technology has long since been part of the company’s everyday life: “We first began using 3D printers to manufacture the earpieces for hearing devices as early as 2005,” Thomas Perissutti explains.
A choice of interchangeable filters enables customers to select the desired degree of protection to suit various needs and situations. Perissutti explains that linear damping offers the best protection at concerts, for example: “All frequencies are reduced by the same number of decibels, while the acoustics themselves remain audible.” A handyman using a chainsaw, on the other hand, needs protection from the machine’s high frequencies but still has to register ambient sounds or hear his colleagues’ announcements clearly. This is made possible by nonlinear filters.
As quite a number of the models are individually customized, Neuroth takes impressions of customers’ auditory canals at partner stores or specialist hearing centers.
However, the company also has an “Intro Line,” which is sold directly to consumers without the need for prior customization. This product line is available at www.earwear.me. “When we launched our online store, we were breaking new ground. That is why we were on the lookout for a partner who could support us,” says Thomas Perissutti. Neuroth quickly found the right partner in DB Schenker.
At the time, the logistics company had just introduced its new netlivery service in Austria. The comprehensive carefree package is targeted primarily at medium-sized enterprises and designed to facilitate their transition into e-commerce – a process that can easily prove technically challenging and costly. Soon, netlivery will also be made available to customers outside Austria. The service is currently in the roll-out phase in Poland and, as product manager René Gutschi explains: “We’ll be going live there with our first customers this year.”
Based on the product’s modular principle, the solution provides digital services supporting all stages of online businesses. Next to the setting up of the web shop itself, these services include distribution, order and payment administration, accounting, goods shipment throughout Europe, returns management, repair and customer service, as René Gutschi explains. “netlivery is a strategic cooperation with a leading direct-marketing agency under one brand and a single point of contact to our customers.”
René Gutschi says that in addressing a precisely defined target group with innovative products, Neuroth has proven to be an inspiring customer. DB Schenker has not only taken over the web shop functionalities on behalf of the Austrian company but also a number of tasks involving transport operations and warehousing. As a result, DB Schenker utilizes its own logistics service center in the city of Innsbruck for the pick and pack of all purchases ordered via the Earwear web shop and organizes their shipment within Europe.
“The facility in Innsbruck possesses a high level of expertise in processing online orders and is ideally situated to reach Neuroth’s target markets,” says Gutschi. Every order received by the web shop is automatically processed after the real-time payment process in the backend-systems of netlivery and is fed into the warehouse management system before DB Schenker organizes the dispatch of the goods to the end customer, including generating the tracking number of the selected carrier and forwarding it to the end-customer so that the shipment can be monitored.
“The complete solution of web shop, order management, warehousing and transport won us over and convinced us to place our trust in netlivery,” says Thomas Perissutti. The practical experience Neuroth has gained with this product over the past 18 months confirms Perissutti’s assessment. Smooth and seamless cooperation for optimal ear protection at the workbench, the racetrack or the club!
E-commerce “Made by DB Schenker”: the logistics company provides Neuroth with an e-commerce solution within the framework of its “netlivery” product, which comprises a web shop with all its functionalities as well as transport and warehousing
Photos: Lukas Ilgner
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