Different countries need different solutions

InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2006

Mr. Christian Irrschik, Managing Director of WAGO Kontakttechnik GmbH, special guest of South-East European Industrial Market

Mr. Irrschik, recently WAGO opened a representative office in Bulgaria, which is going to cover Bulgaria, Romania and all former Yugoslavian republics. What are the main tasks that it is going to carry out?

We, in WAGO, came to the conclusion that different countries need different solutions. That was the reason why our headquarter in Germany decided to establish an office in Sofia, which should meet the needs of the market in the Balkan region and which should offer solution to the specific regional problems.

Our main tasks are to cooperate very close with our partners and to help them with technical support, offering various technical solutions, promotions and advertising in their mother language.

With the help of our office in Sofia we are able to represent stronger not only the interests of WAGO at the Balkan market but also the interests of our partners in that region.

A lot has been said about the huge potential of the South-East European market in the past few years. Why did WAGO choose this particular moment for starting an agency here?

The distances in Europe in the last years are becoming shorter because of the different communication possibilities and the increased mobility of the population.

Therefore it is very important for us to keep direct as well as personal contact with our clients at the southeastern markets and to be able to offer a perfect technical and commercial support.

Another reason is the fast increase of inquiries from SEE-countries and the need of WAGO Cage-Clamp products.

What are your expectations and plans for WAGO’s business development, respectively in Bulgaria, Romania and former Yugoslavia?

We are convinced that in the SEE-countries there is a strongly increasing interest in WAGO’s products. We would like to adjust our sales system and adapt it in various ways to the specific requirements and needs of the SEE market.

Regarding our business plan - we plan to establish next year an office in Romania and run the business there developing a salesmen-net with a back office support.

In Serbia, as well as in Bulgaria, we also like to establish a salesman distributing system with a home office principle of organising the job.

What about your distribution network? Who are the WAGO’s distributors in Bulgaria? How long have you been working with them? Do you intend to expand your distribution network here? What is the situation with your distribution network in Romania?

In Bulgaria, for example, we work in close partnership with the company RIM Technology in Sofia and since a few years our position at the Bulgarian market is becoming very considerable.

In Romania we cooperate with the companies VDR Servicii in Bucharest and ETA Automatezarii in Timisoara especially in the branch of WAGO I/O Modules for bussystems like TCP/ IP or LON which are used in building automatisation as well as in industrial automatisation. We have already fulfilled a few projects together as for instance the Supermarket Kaufland in Romania.

Furthermore we are looking for partners who are situated outside the main towns as to enlarge our sales net and improve it together with our main partners.

And what is the situation with your distribution network in former Yugoslavia?

In former Yugoslavia we began finding new contacts and refreshing the old ones. In this country we are also looking for partners who could be able to meet the needs of the Serbian market.

The companies ICCE Engineering in Belgrade and TAGOR in Nis do at the moment their best to support our clients, but as I said - we are at the beginning.

Delivery terms are one of the most important business arguments in a fast developing region as SEE. Your clients would probably ask about your storage organization.

The commercial conditions are very important in each country. Since 6 years we have a fully automatically functioning central Stock in Germany spreading of an area of approx. 7.500 m2. From there we deliver worldwide. The partners of WAGO in SEE have mostly also a stock with the most popular and used products.

So, I think we are very well prepared to meet the delivery requirements of our clients in the SEE-countries delivering in time and offering a good support.

First WAGO’s Balkan meeting took place recently. Could you please tell us more about it? Who were the participants, what topics were discussed, etc.?

The representative office in Sofia was opened at the beginning of June 2006. After establishing the infrastructure we intended to connect somehow business and fun inviting our partners to an opening event. The result from our intentions was the 1st WAGO’s Balkan Meeting which took place in Sofia between the 14th till the 17th of August.

At this meeting we introduced new WAGO Products such as terminals, connectors, I/O Modules and informed the participants, who came from Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria about internal WAGO-news. We exchanged also experience and new ideas about establishing and developing the distribution net in each of those countries in particular. There were as well very active round table discussions about situations and needs of the market in different countries.

At the evening we enjoyed the time in the wonderful city of Sofia, visiting with our guests a lot of sightseeing places. We are all looking forward to the 2nd Balkan Meeting next year, which would take place anywhere else at the Balkans, and we hope that till then we will succeed to enlarge the number of the participants.

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