As the comments below recent BikeRadar articles show, Canyon’s switch to more modern facilities had a difficult birth. Delivery times ballooned out of control during the Christmas period, and many customers started complaining loudly on social media and elsewhere. So what does the situation look like now? Well on our recent visit to the German firm’s factory in Koblenz, all was calm and efficient.
In fact, things are going so well that Canyon recorded its strongest month ever in April, selling and shipping more than €23m worth of bikes. The firm is now shipping around 500 bikes per day to 104 countries, running on one production shift and two warehousing and delivery shifts each day.
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The Canyon model
With so many BikeRadar readers affected by the recent delivery issues, we wanted to delve deeper into what caused them, how well Canyon is currently fulfilling orders, and what expansion plans it has in future. That's especially pertinent given the company wants to start selling in the US later this year.
The first thing to note is that Canyon bikes are not built to order – a production plan for the year is agreed, and then different models are built in rotation. So you might have the Endurace bikes built one week, Ultimate models the next, then Grand Canyon, and so on.
This means that when someone orders a bike, they must wait until the next production slot for it to be built (at the earliest), and then anywhere between 1-6 weeks for it to be delivered. But the good news – according to Canyon – is that all systems are now working smoothly, across the production, warehousing and delivery sections of the business.
“We are now beginning to see very positive results as those changes take hold," says Frank Aldorf, Canyon's chief brand officer. "We have worked our way through a difficult period, but our new systems are functioning better every day and the processes at our new factory are working themselves out."
Canyon founder Roman Arnold decided he needed a new, more modern factory when the company started selling more bikes outside Germany than in its home market. After much searching, he found a large site nearby, and construction began. Along with a new production plant, the company also decided to implement more modern, streamlined warehousing and logistics processes, all controlled by an overarching software platform from SAP Systems. It went into operation in October 2015.
As BikeRadar saw when we visited, this new system can track each component of each bike as it travels through the production process. Each employee on the factory floor and in the warehouse and delivery facilities has a hand-mounted scanner that they use to register every component and package they handle.
So now the new system is in place and working smoothly, how much expansion capacity does Canyon still have? “With the facilities available to us at our new factory, we are a long way from reaching full capacity,” says Aldorf, “meaning that from a production standpoint, we are set to grow globally even more.”
The warehouse alone covers 28,000m², and is capable of storing 14,000 bikes at any one time. If Canyon starts selling large numbers of bikes in the US, it will need to considerably expand its current facilities, and on the new Koblenz site it has plenty of room to do so.
US delivery model
When it starts selling bikes in the US, Canyon plans to build them in Germany then ship them across the Atlantic in its patented Canyon Bike Guards – basically a beefier, more durable version of the cardboard bike boxes that your local bike shop receives.
One differentiating point is that these Canyon Bike Guards are designed to make it easy for anyone, regardless of experience or technical know-how, to assemble their bike in five simple steps.
In terms of local agents and customer support, it appears these are all things being currently worked out. "We have our task force working on all the requirements to make it a successful market entry," says Aldorf. “More details will follow shortly, but we are unable to go into further detail at this point."
The future of Canyon bikes
So what does Canyon’s product roadmap look like? "People can expect to see our range expand with even more integration and smart solutions coming from Canyon in the future. Design is an integral part of our DNA as a bike manufacturer. We like to take a holistic approach to all our products and we have strong roots in industrial design."
This is apparent for instance in the integrated stem and handlebars on the new disc-equipped Endurace CF SLX road bike, which we had the pleasure of riding recently. And we’re looking forward to seeing what Canyon showcases at the Eurobike trade show in September – readers may remember the app-based Smart Bike Computer we spotted last year.
"Function and form is a fine balance we spend a lot of time working on and we believe you can see that in the product at first sight," adds Aldorf. "Having an integrated bike allows us to have even more control over the form and function, which as a result, is the path we will continue to go down in the future."