The markets in South East Europe have their potential in the future with high average growth

InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 6/2007

Present SICK business in South-Eastern Europe as history, activities, mission and markets.

1946 the company SICK was founded by Mr. Erwin Sick in Munich, Germany. The economical breakthrough was in 1952 by introducing the first accident prevention light curtain. In 1956 the company moved to Waldkirch, Germany – today‘s headquarter. First subsidiaries were found 1972 in France and first non-European subsidiary 1975 in the U.S.A.

Mr. Erwin Sick died in 1988 at the age of 79 years and in 1996 the Erwin Sick Ltd. was restructured and become a joint stock company called SICK AG. In 2005 sales exceeds Euro 590 Million and the SICK Group has more than 4000 employees and over 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

SICK AG is steered by a four member executive board with the spokesman Mr. Dr. Robert Bauer. The supervisory board consists of the honorary member Mrs. Gisela Sick and another twelve members.

SICK GmbH, located in Wiener Neudorf, Austria is responsible within the SICK Group for South East Europe.

SICK‘s activities are in three segments: “Factory automation” with industrial sensors & industrial safety systems; “Logistic automation” with autoident products i.e. Barcode readers & laser scanners and “Process automation” with analyzers and process instrumentation.

SICK is serving with solutions most of the industry i.e. to the automobile industry, packaging machinery, warehouse & logistics, food & beverage, tobacco, robotics & automation, power plants, steel & cement factories, airport & road agencies. Overall to serve these industries is SICK‘s mission: Independence, Innovation, Leadership.

What is the most specific for the markets in South-Eastern Europe (SEE) comparing to Western or global?

The most specific for the markets in southeast Europe is their potential in the future with high average growth rates compared with Western Europe. Another chance is that some of the countries in Southeast Europe find their ways to export to the states of former Soviet Union. Globally Southeast Europe will face competition from Asia & South America.

What is SICK strategy to compete successfully the local producers of competitive products in SEE region?

Of course there are competitive local producers of sensor in Southeast Europe but they are offering mostly so called „island solution“. We, at SICK compete with complete solutions (but not turnkey, this is done by our partners) which is reflected with our solution centers i.e. for „manufacturing“, packaging & small part assembly“ and „logistics“. Take logistics i.e. we are not offering only sensors we are offering all the parts & support to solve the problems for courier, express and parcel services companies.

What is your pricing policy in the price sensitive markets as the Balkans markets?

The Balkan markets are of course price sensitive but this you find in the meantime anywhere on the world. On the other hand the well-educated and trained engineers know about quality of products and they honour this. They know the fact too that SICK is able to support their customers anywhere in the world with technical support either directly by subsidiaries or through the authorized partners of SICK

What are the best selling products of SICK in the SEE region?

There is no one best selling products but labour safety products are „hot items“, because especially the new european community members have to fulfill the EC regulations on labour safety a.s.a.p.

What are the latest technologies of SICK with bigger market potential in the SEE region?

Bigger market potential we see with high end vision sensors i.e. our „ranger camera systems“ and in 2D barcode reading as well as volume measurement systems.

What are your impressions and your experience with the regional companies and the specialists working in the region?

My impressions and you know Iґm working on these markets already more than 25 years is quite good. Engineers are well educated, research & developments are going on and in the meantime the responsible people in the companies become professionals in marketing & sales.

What are your expectations for future market development of SEE region?

My expectations for the future market development are excellent if the local small & medium enterprises (SME) will be well supported by the local governments and generate enough export business.