InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2009

The future can come, we are ready!

Mr. Steffen Hanik,
South-East European
INDUSTRIAL Market magazine

Dear Mr. Hanik, please present BITO Lagertechnik as a company, history, scope of activity, product program, etc.
BITO is an internationally operating company founded in 1845 with a staff of more than 700 specialising in the fields of storage and workshop equipment and order picking systems.
On a plant surface of more than 140,000 m2 in Germany, BITO manufactures a customer-oriented and innovative product range meeting highest user demands.
BITO is one of the few single source suppliers of components and complete systems in the fields of shelving and racking as well as plastic bins and containers to meet the requirements of storage, workshop and order picking environments in any industry.
BITO is not only a full line supplier with integrated and comprehensive production facilities, but also a full service provider offering a ’concept-to-completion’ consultancy service that will see a project through from design to handover.

Where are your current main markets and what markets you are targeted at in near future?
The main market for BITO is central Europe with 14 subsidiaries and many sales-partners all over the world.
In 2007 BITO founded a joint venture "Nilkamal BITO Storage Systems" in India to operate as manufacturer and distributor.
In 2008 "BITO Storage Systems Middle East" was founded at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Now BITO is dispreading in South-Eastern Europe with Sales Partners.

Please, define the most specific features of markets in South-Eastern Europe (SEE) compared to Western or global?
In Western Europe the wage level is quite high. So you will find a high degree of automation. At the moment the wage level in SSE is still low so you do not find so much automation in the logistics sector. But this will change within the next years.
At the moment the inquiries for such systems are less but this will also change in the next time. For BITO this is the chance to deliver our highly developed products for this branch.

What comprises your near future business plans for SEE, including Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania, Greece and Turkey?
In Romania we have our own subsidiary; in all other states we have Sales Partners. In Bulgaria it’s the company Logistic Systems in Sofia; in Greece it’s the company Pebro and in Turkey the company Ekon. In all other states including Serbia, etc. we are looking for Sales-Partners at the moment.

How is BITO’s after-sales service organized in these countries? Do you offer some long-term technical support for your customers?
There is no difference if a customer orders directly from BITO or orders from one of our Sales-Partners. The customer will always receive the same benefits. Our BITO-Service-Programme includes delivery, assembly, start-up and customer support.
Being close to our customers is of great importance for BITO. A dense network of experienced technical advisors guarantees fast and competent support and service.

Which are BITO Lagertechnik’s storage solutions with the biggest market potential in Southeastern Europe?
In 2008 we start running Europe’s most modern pallet racking plant in Meisenheim (Germany). With this new pallet-rack we have competitive prices to sell it also in SSE. Our customers receive a product "Made in Germany" for a fair price.
Our main focuses are the dynamic racks for cartons, bins and also for pallets as well as our large variety of plastic bins and containers.

What are BITO Lagertechnik products advantages in comparison with those of competition?
BITO is offering a huge product range. So the customers can receive everything for their warehouse from one hand.
Because of this we can exactly offer what the customer needs.
BITO will be pleased to give competent and experienced advice as to the optimum solution.
The scope of advice ranges from inquiries answered over the phone to on site visits during which a concrete layout plan can be drawn up in cooperation with the customer.

What technologies and market trends do you think would affect the warehouse and order picking system’s market within next years?
I think that the market trends are influenced from two different circumstances.
At first we have the changing in the Logistic-concept. In the past you almost had only big orders and now you have more and more small orders.
Delivery periods are getting smaller and smaller. In pharmaceutical logistics you sometimes have delivery periods from 3 times per day.
Also webshop-business with small quantity orders is getting more and more popular. For these changes you need a flexible order picking system.
The second changing is the Lean-Management which is realised in many companies at the moment. For this system you need a very flexible rack. That’s why BITO integrated the new BITO-Ergo system now on the market.
As you see we listen very carefully to what the market needs are and bring our flexible systems on the market. The future can come, we are ready.

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