Omron celebrates its 30 years in Europe

InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 1/2005

In last 7 years Omron has average growth rate above 18% in SEE

Rene Sholten, Sales Manager for South-Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa

Present yourself to SEEIM readers.

I am 38 years old and living in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I joined Omron almost 11 years ago and had different jobs in sales and marketing. At the moment I am responsible for the sales in South East Europe, Middle East and Africa. As traveling is one of my hobbies, you can understand that I want to be in these areas as much as possible to learn the markets and the customer needs.

Mark shortly the 30 years history keypoints of Omron Europe.

Omron, a Japanese company, began its operation in Europe approximately 30 years ago by appointing an Italian distributor named Carlo Gavazzi. Later a joint venture between Carlo Gavazzi and Omron was established. After 12 years of very successful market development Omron bought Carlo Gavazzi.s shares in the venture in 1986, and continued European presentation as a direct Omron regional company. The Omron headquarter is located in the Netherlands and at the moment we have sales offices in 18 European countries, factories and application centers. Besides industrial automation products, Omron also sells electro mechanical components and healthcare products in Europe. Omron has factories and sales offices all around the world and therefore we can support our customers everywhere.

When Omron business has started in SEE? What are the most interesting moments in its history?

Approximately 25 years ago we started sales activities in SEE and this was managed from the European headquarter and later from our sales office in Austria. For all SEE counties we appointed distributors to develop the market. In 1998 the responsibility of the sales activities in SEE was moved back to the European headquarter in the Netherlands. The department supporting the distributors in SEE became also responsible for sales in Middle East and Africa. In the SEE area Omron has sales offices in Czech, Hungary and Turkey.

What is the SEE share in the whole Omron business in Europe?

The share of the SEE region to the overall Omron business in Europe is currently between 1-2%. However, the growth of sales in this area is way above European average. In last 7 years of Omron operation in SEE, the average growth rate was well above 18%. In several SEE countries (including Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia), Omron share of market is also stronger than average in Western Europe. Such success should partially be attributed to our strong partners Omron has in these markets. We will continue to improve our presence in SEE to further grow in these interesting markets.

How Omron business in SEE is structured/organized in terms of production, sales, marketing, logistics, service and support, etc?

In most SEE countries, Omron does not have own sales offices. Sales is organized through the network of partners that we call distributors. They are responsible for the whole range of sales activities for industrial automation products, including system integration, technical support, training, promotion of Omron to the domestic industries, etc. My department is responsible for the full support to these distributors. We support our partners in logistics, application engineering, training, marketing, etc. Product development and manufacturing is organized centrally in Europe and other parts of the world. In Europe we have 2 factories located in The Netherlands and Germany. Besides these factories product development teams and application engineering centers are available in various places in Europe.

What are the most successful businesses/products portfolios in SEE?

Omron has a broad range of high quality industrial automation products that can be used in various kinds of applications and industries. Per country we can see different successes in e.g. machine building applications and factory automation. If I have to mention 1 application we could say that we are very successful in motion control applications. On the other hand, solutions that are characteristic for developed markets, such as machine safety and quality control, are yet to be introduced to SEE. We are well positioned to take advantage of our competences in these areas once they emerge in SEE markets.

What do you consider as the biggest success of Omron in SEE?

Perhaps the biggest success of Omron is that, despite the fact that we are not present with own sales offices, we managed to establish an exceptionally strong market presence together with our partners. In addition, after many years of developing the business in this region, our presence is very well visible in all Balkan countries. We aim to use this as a base for further expansion in this high-potential region.

What is your message to the SEE clients?

First of all I would like to thank all existing customers in putting their trust in Omron and our partners in SEE. We want to grow the business together with our partners and will significantly increase the attention and resources to further develop the SEE area. To achieve this we will respond to the actual and future needs of our customers and prospects.

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