“ We will be developing a complete new product line with very exciting innovations. “
Serac right now is in a transformation phase. One of my goals is to create ONE Serac. Before I took over, Serac was handled a little bit differently. We had seven companies around the globe, and each company pretty much did a little bit on their own, what they wanted to do. That is not really our strength.
We have an unbelievable amount of knowledge and expertise within the group, and we can only learn from each other.
And so my goal is to bring these companies together as one unit. And of course now we are dealing with a transformation period to make this happen.
We are also dealing with different cultures. We have manufacturing plants in Europe of course, in France, we have an office in Spain. We have a manufacturing plant here in Chicago, in Brazil, in Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia. We have offices in Japan, in Thailand, in Indonesia. We have reps everywhere, in Dubai, in Russia… It makes it very diverse from a cultural standpoint. Conducting business and relationship in China or India is much different than in Europe or here. It makes it a little uncomfortable right now and I drive these actions where I want people to collaborate more.
We are in a very interesting transformation phase, but I have to say that the team, worldwide, responded really, really well to this. I see more and more interactions between people, that I do not have to intervene anymore.
We analyze the company and put together a very comprehensive strategy for the future, consisting of numerous pilars, which we received board approval in February to do, and now we are in execution mode. Which goes from, again marrying the group, it is one. We will be developing a complete new product line with very exciting innovation, that’s one. We are also going to be going into operational excellence, that’s another one. And we are also spending a lot of money in the next few years in R&D to remain at the forefront of the technological evolution.
Serac has a reputation on the market, of being a leader in the technical evolution, and we really want to stay there. So there are a lot of changes happening right now within the group. And at the same time of course we are pushing for sales. Digital transformation will be the biggest investment. Why ? Because there is a trend industry 4.0 which mandates us to bring our IT platforms that we have with the customers, and also internally, up. So that requires a complete transformation of our IT platforms. Also, our data collection from the machine, how we build a machine and how we design interfaces to the customer. That would be for sure the biggest investment over the next few years. We will dedicate a substantial amount of R&D into a completely new machine platform with a lot of exciting innovation in there.
One of our strengths is that we manufacture worldwide. This really differenciates us from our competition. We have manufacturing plants close to the customer which makes the supply chain significantly more dynamic. We have local specialists available, that know the local markets, that feedback information to our product management, that then in return can design our machines accordingly, and price them accordingly to be competitive on the market.
Don’t get me wrong, we do not win all the deals, nobody does, but when I look at our activity and return ratio, it is actually very good. The other reason is also that we consider ourselves the boutique company is the packaging world. And I use the word boutique for a reason, because everybody knows ‘boutique’ and what that means, you know you go to a store and you are able to accessorize what you are buying. We are very similar. The customer can come to us and drive his wishlist high. And we will try to accomodate him within our product offerings as much as possible. My competitors do not do that to that extent and that made Serac really successful. We will for sure continue on this path.
We have a very high customer satisfaction rate. You will always have the one or the other issue, that is pretty normal, you are not perfect, but we have a very good relationship with our customers. It also shows a very high percentage of returning customers. And these are not just small customers but also big international groups that come back to us and continue being partner with Serac, which of course is a testament to that.
We are in a transformational phase, for sure. For our employees, to a certain extent, this is a little uncomfortable, for sure. But we have a very solid strategic plan in mind to position Serac, in 5 years, really at the center of the packaging world. Not only with new products but also with new innovative products, new technologies that will catch the world’s attention, I am pretty sure.