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The Bramfeld cutter
Customer focus

The Bramfeld cutter

1/11/2019 Editor Eugenia Mönning Reading time: 3 Minutes
His gaze is focussed on his target. From a safe distance he contemplates every detail. He slowly reduces the distance, making smaller and smaller circles. His hand strokes the fabric - suddenly he snaps back. An experienced grip and it’s already on its back. He slides the shiny knife expertly out of his trouser pocket, sets it in place without hesitation and... cuts. Cotton pours out of the cut in the sofa.

Cutting sofas open is his job; Jörg Kappestein has been checking the product quality of upholstery for over 30 years. To begin with it was all done in a small upholstery workshop in Hagen. During his training to become an interior decorator, he had quickly learned his trade. In a large warehouse in Dortmund he also got to know the commercial side, which often serves him well today. “As a Quality Manager, the most important thing is having a thorough understanding - just understanding the processes is not enough. You also have to know the items of furniture right down to the smallest detail,” explains Kappestein.

"The French and British like to sink right in. The sofa must be so soft that the armrest is at your earlobe when you settle in. With Germans, they would rather it be as hard as a church pew."

Jörg Kappestein

Aside from carrying out quality checks, he gives upholstery courses at OTTO’s customer centre. “The better the employees there know the furniture, the better advice they can give. Feeling and sitting on it is also of great advantage.” Because one thing is especially important to the customer: sitting comfort. “The French and British like to sink right in. The sofa must be so soft that the armrest is at your earlobe when you settle in. With Germans, they would rather it be as hard as a church pew,” reveals the expert, grinning.

The necessary tools for a quality check: your nose, eyes, ears and bottom

China, Romania, Poland - Kappestein often travels for work, tapping into new markets, checking whether potential suppliers fulfil OTTO’s quality standards, checking and advising furniture manufacturers. Several times a year he visits various warehouse locations to review customer returns with the suppliers. Here, he relies primarily on his eyes, nose, ears, hands and, of course, bottom.

Kappestein’s eyes twinkle as he explains: “I sit down, smell, have a feel and know immediately what the sofa has in it.” With his experience and instinct for items of furniture, he shows the suppliers why customers have returned the item. “Then I also take sofas apart with the cutting knife sometimes. That’s when we really get down to business.” After the cutter and his colleagues have found a company to be good, the items are added to the range. Due to the large number of living items on the individual items of furniture from particular suppliers are checked, OTTO employees also carry out regular controls. Customers also help with quality assurance.

“Customer feedback is particularly important to us. In a way, customers check each individual product. But, if there is something to complain about, report it to us and we can check what the cause of the error is,” Kappestein continues. Returns, product reviews, repairs and spare parts inquiries also contribute to quality assurance. “We can use these to identify whether the quality is right, individual parts need to be reworked or the supplier has not met the minimum requirements.” Of course, price, service and delivery times are important. Kappestein says: “But in the end, quality is decisive for customer satisfaction. For this reason, we ensure that the customer gets sound goods and that they stay sound.”

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