5S Company helps the 'brand' Ben de Ruiter Tweewielers grow. Buying a bicycle should be an experience.
Ben de Ruiter Tweewielers is well known in Nijkerk. The cycling pleasure starts with this bicycle specialist even before the first meters have been made. 5S Company and CI Company have been involved in establishing a good workplace organization from the start of the bicycle business. First in an advisory role, then in an executive role. “I was primarily a bicycle repairman, not an entrepreneur. By laying a strong foundation together with 5S Company, we are able to expand and focus on the customer experience.”
The collaboration between the two companies arose from a mutual passion for entrepreneurship. A (coincidental) conversation about starting a business soon followed. “We spent quite a few hours together at the kitchen table,” says Dennis van de Bunt of 5S Company. “We helped Ben write the business plan and a financial plan for his company. That was immediately accepted by the bank. Then we started building.”
The foundation of the bicycle specialist shop is exclusivity, says Ben de Ruiter. “Perhaps the best part of the whole story is the first question Dennis asked me. "Suppose I live in Nijkerk, I have money to spend and I want to buy a very nice bicycle, where can I go?". No idea, I said. ‘Well with you, Ben!’.”
Buying a bicycle should be an experience
De Ruiter decided to focus on e-bikes in the higher segment. “Incredibly beautiful bikes, but with a price tag. So that means customer expectations are high. People not only buy a bicycle, but also an experience. And that is what our store is designed for.”
De basisprincipes van de 5S method en LEAN-werken zorgen ervoor dat deze hoge standaarden – op het gebied van netheid, voorraadbeheer, veiligheid en efficiëntie – dagelijks gehandhaafd blijven. “Ik kan er een heel mooi verhaal van maken, maar het gaat om simpele dingen. Zaken die je helpen bij het in stand houden van hoge kwaliteitsstandaarden. Als je iets gebruikt, leg je het terug. Als je klaar bent met je klus, ruim je op. En doordat we scherp naar het voorraadbeheer kijken, zijn alle benodigde onderdelen altijd voorhanden.”
“5S Company and CI Company look beyond workplace organisation. We also give companies and entrepreneurs targeted advice, at every stage,” says Van de Bunt. “Any time is a good time to start an improvement journey. Our aim is to help entrepreneurs organize, validate and improve day-to-day processes. You can not only apply these solutions in every sector, but also at every stage.”
Own brand racing bikes
Confidence in existing processes – and driven by growing customer demand – led Ben to expand. He bought the property next door. “We started selling our own brand of racing bicycle. At first we only sold factory bikes, with limited personalization options, but by developing our own brand we were able to put together racing bikes completely according to the wishes of our customers. Completely customized and in any desired color.”
These plans were also forged at the kitchen table. “Together with Dennis I made a plan. For the building, but also for the product,” Ben continues. The racing bikes were given their own showroom and separate workshop – clearly visible because it is fitted with a glass wall. “We can show our customers the bare frames and the groupsets. They also see with their own eyes how the bicycle is built. This way it really becomes 'your' bike. We send customers photos of the process to make the experience that little bit more special.”
The workplace – a sleek, white department – is a bit like a laboratory. “We are just not walking around with long white coats,” jokes Ben. It is part of the plan that Ben developed together with 5S Company. “A bit of logical thinking, but you have to see it.” The workplaces, there are three in total, are well organized and look tidy. “If we sometimes think it's a mess, people still shout: 'It's so neat here!'. Because you have such an appearance, you set people's expectations very high. You have to fulfill that. On the other hand, you can count on a good hourly wage. You perform better simply because you have everything in order. Both in terms of organization and layout and in terms of furnishing. There is an idea behind everything.”
"This is what you're going to make your name with"
“The racing bike is produced in front of the customer,” says Dennis. “It is almost impossible to get more exclusive. The frame comes in the color of the customer's choice and the bike is assembled with gloves on. The customer sees the bike come to life. That's unique, nobody does that. "You're going to make a name for yourself with this," I said directly to Ben.
The corona pandemic and other global setbacks are putting a lot of pressure on various industries. The shortage of parts quickly piled up, partly due to delivery problems and a shortage of raw materials. While the demand for new bicycles continued to rise. “Buying groupsets and finished frames for road bikes was a drama. We found something about that. By purchasing loose, unpainted frames, we were able to organize our stock. After doing the bicycle measurement, we sent the desired frame back to the manufacturer to have the frame painted. This enabled us to deliver quickly, despite all the challenges.”
The bicycle industry continues to evolve, Ben expects. “The market will also change again in 2023. Now we face another problem. Because purchasing was more extensive during corona times, in the hope that you would receive at least part of the order, you now either receive the complete order or the stock of suppliers will soon be overflowing. And that puts a strong pressure on the cash flow of such a supplier. In any case, we are confident that, due to our way of working and the 5S method, we are able to deliver top performances every day.”
Van de Bunt: “Ben has the ability to anticipate the market. We come up with solutions together and Ben gets to work with this full of energy. It is nice to see that we help people from a passion for entrepreneurship and that this is seen, valued and implemented.”
Ben de Ruiter Tweewielers
Ben de Ruiter Tweewielers is a young bicycle shop from Nijkerk, which opened its doors in October 2015.
Brand dealer of only quality brands. In addition, dealer of its own brand BdR Bikes and Gears. These are racing bikes that are assembled with only high-quality products.