Chairman and CEO interview

Benedikt Goldkamp, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Dr Rochus Kobler, CEO, answer questions about growth rates, prospects, successes, risks, sustainability and key developments.

1|3|Benedikt Goldkamp, Chairman: Developments 2021
3|94|Corporate culture
5|166|Change into a provider of system solutions
6|210|Dr. Rochus Kobler, CEO: Growth drivers 2021
7|251|Results/achievements 2021
8|287|Operational excellence (J2OX) 
9|360|Operating result DOT Group
10|416|Opportunities in the future

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Mr Goldkamp, which developments surprised you the most amid the turbulence of 2021?

Benedikt Goldkamp Probably the global supply chain issues that are still ongoing. Luckily, for most of our customers we were able to find solutions that mitigated those problems. But there were some pleasant surprises too. For me it was wonderful to see how our people refined our products and services with enormous creative energy, at a time when they could only really communicate digitally.

You say that Phoenix Mecano is driven by global megatrends. Which megatrends tend to be overestimated or underestimated by society at large?

Benedikt Goldkamp I think the trend towards cybercrime is underestimated. Nowadays, there are internationally active criminal syndicates that can attack thousands of companies simultaneously within seconds, with practically no risk of being prosecuted. The trend towards reshoring of global supply chains is probably overestimated. Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, the division of labour has been a tool to fight poverty and create wealth. We should not give up on this – including internationally. In today's world, it's more about being flexible so that you can react to unpredictable events and avoid centralised structures.

The Phoenix Mecano Group is known for its decentralised structures, lean organisation and short decision-making processes. How do you create and maintain a corporate culture that enables such a set-up?

Benedikt Goldkamp First and foremost, a decentralised structure is deeply ingrained in Phoenix Mecano's DNA. You also need a culture that doesn't avoid mistakes in the first place but rather makes it possible to learn from them. Otherwise the organisation would be prevented from evolving. You can't try to control everything either, you have to give real responsibility to the employees.

“We support our customers with our technologies and so achieve an impact far beyond what we could achieve by just focusing on our own processes.”

Benedikt A. Goldkamp
Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors

How important is sustainability for Phoenix Mecano and how can this be measured?

Benedikt Goldkamp Doing business sustainably is a declared goal of our Group. We've already acquired important certifications and are also developing internal reporting standards to make our progress in these areas both measurable and visible. Another key factor is that we are gaining more and more customers from sectors such as environmental technology, waste disposal and renewable energies. We support these customers with our technologies and so achieve an impact far beyond what we could achieve by just focusing on our own processes.

Phoenix Mecano is, by its own account, increasingly evolving from a pure component manufacturer into a provider of system solutions. Where is this change particularly apparent?

Benedikt Goldkamp Highly innovative companies in particular are bringing their products to market at an ever faster rate. So it's important that they can rely on suppliers like Phoenix Mecano, who support this process with complete assemblies and system solutions. For example, our custom-made enclosures with full certification shorten the process enormously. And in the DOT Group, for instance, we supply kinematic fittings, drive components, sensors and electronic controls as a kit, leaving customers free to focus on the design and, where relevant, upholstery of their products.

Mr Kobler, Phoenix Mecano made up for lost ground in 2021, achieving high growth rates in both sales and earnings. What were the main growth drivers?

Dr. Rochus Kobler Our high growth rates are the result of our growth strategy. We even managed to grow slightly during the pandemic, when the industrial sector generally saw double-digit declines. Incidentally, our growth is largely organic. We achieve this by bolstering our value added in a targeted way and expanding our range of system solutions.

Which results or achievements in financial year 2021 are you particularly proud of?

Dr. Rochus Kobler Over the past few years, we have realigned the Industrial Components division, and last year we pulled off an impressive turnaround of this part of the business. By consolidating activities and focusing our product areas and product range, we managed to achieve an EBIT margin of almost 8%. But the journey is not over yet. We continue to work on increasing the division's profitability.

“We even managed to grow slightly during the pandemic, when the industrial sector generally saw double-digit declines. Incidentally, our growth is largely organic. We achieve this by bolstering our value added in a targeted way and expanding our range of system solutions.”

Dr. Rochus Kobler

Phoenix Mecano is committed to creating value through operational excellence. Can you give us a couple of recent examples of this? How has this initiative developed?

Dr. Rochus Kobler Around 10 years ago, we launched the Journey towards Operational Excellence (J2OX). At its core, this initiative is about incremental cultural change. J2OX promotes a work philosophy and leadership culture based on the pursuit of continuous improvement. It also fosters collaboration between employees in cross-functional teams. You can see the results of this on our shop floors worldwide, and in our offices and R&D departments. But the nicest thing is when you meet employees who have succeeded personally thanks to J2OX, while also contributing to the success of Phoenix Mecano. I'm proud to say that over the past 10 years, the J2OX mindset has permeated every capillary of our decentralised organisation.

The DewertOkin Technology Group (DOT Group) division saw a significant drop in its operating result. What were the reasons for this?

Dr. Rochus Kobler DewertOkin is the leading provider of drive system solutions in the furniture industry. The furniture industry is characterised by global value chains with high volumes and long-term contracts. That's why skyrocketing raw material prices and supply capacity shortages hit this division particularly hard. We immediately introduced measures, evaluated alternative sources of supply, and announced price increases. However, there will be a time lag before these measures take effect. We anticipate a bottom line impact this year. One thing is clear: we want to further increase this division's profitability in the current year.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities for the Phoenix Mecano Group in the future?

Dr. Rochus Kobler We are very much targeting our investment in the development of system solutions for future-oriented applications. These include ergonomic workstations for homes, offices or industrial environments, digitalisation solutions for patient services, and human-machine interfaces. Phoenix Mecano is ideally positioned to generate further profitable growth in these promising fields.

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