Company - 2015-05-26
In this interview, Michael Preinerstorfer, Managing Director of the European Industrial Business Unit (EIBU) and a qualified engineer, describes how he plans to leverage the new organisation of his business unit to make NSK the European market leader in 15 to 20 niches markets.
What will change for customers, employees and products?
Mr Preinerstorfer, what has been the organisational structure until now?
Our current organisational matrix oversees approximately 50 countries in three areas: Sector/Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), Aftermarket and Electrical. In the Sector/OEM Department, we cover application areas and sectors such as pumps and compressors, wind turbines, machine tools, rail technology, agricultural, mining and the steel industry. A sector manager is responsible for coordinating the work of individual sectors on a regional basis.
Why do you want to change this organisation?
We want to further optimise our service in order to be able to serve our customers in a more targeted and individual manner. Our new strategy is ‘select and focus’. We will define 15 to 20 niches markets – that is, special applications or components such as rolling mills or petrochemicals – in which we are able to offer customers special added value on account of our experience and know-how. Our future ‘niche policy’ is intended to allow us to create significantly more customer-specific solutions more quickly using our existing standard products, while also making it possible to develop a customised product strategy for each niche.
Will anything be changing with regard to the structure of your country organisations?
These will be replaced by organisations for three regions: Central Europe, Western Europe and Emerging Markets. They will be serving end customers and dealers separately in future. I believe that Emerging Markets, which encompasses Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, the South Asia and Northern and Southern Africa, offers particular potential as we already enjoy a good market position there.
What will be changing with regard to the Aftermarket area?
We will be splitting it into two parts: the Industrial Aftermarket area and the Automotive Aftermarket area. NSK will be strengthening its key account management for the Industrial Aftermarket and expanding the teams for MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) and AIP (Added Value Programme).
As for the Automotive Aftermarket, a dedicated organisation is intended to generate a significant expansion in sales over the next few years with the help of a new marketing concept. The products are manufactured in our plants in Japan and Europe. Unlike our competitors, however, the kits we offer contain only original parts that we have packaged in a user-friendly manner under the PROKIT brand.
NSK Europe is expanding its Added Value Programme (AIP) with accessories for the aftermarket. Are these already available?
There are already 15 trained Condition Monitoring experts in the Industrial Aftermarket area who are able to actively support customers if problems arise. By the end of 2015, we will have expanded our portfolio to include tools to fit and remove bearings as well as a laser alignment tool for precise shaft and pulley alignment.
Speaking of AIP: what effect will the new structure have on the Added Value Programme?
To date, we have been providing sustainable and successful support for all industries – from bakers to steelworks – with AIP. Thanks to NSK’s customised solutions, our clients have been able to save anywhere from 50,000 euros to more than 1 million euros a year. In future, our customer consultations will be significantly more focused because we will be able to deploy our expertise in the 15 to 20 niches much more effectively. But naturally, AIP will be continued in all other sectors as well.
What changes are in store for original equipment manufacturers?
The OEM clients were previously the responsibility of the Sector/OEM area, while the distribution experts in the Aftermarket area looked after MRO. In future, a sector manager will ensure uniform support for MRO, OEM and AIP projects. The specialist in question will enjoy comprehensive knowledge of the sector and will pass this on to Engineering. As a result, we will be able to develop customised solutions for our customers.
What will happen with the high-precision products, such as those from linear technology?
The new business area Seiki, which is Japanese for precision, brings all high-precision products together. This includes high-precision bearings, linear guides, ball screws and bearing units for ball screws, which we offer in particular to the machine tool and medical technology industries as comprehensive solutions. This means that for both areas, instead of individual products, we are already able to supply complete assemblies that make specific functions possible.
How will important key customers be served in future?
We are planning to implement a procedure that is very sector-oriented: in future, a key account manager will be responsible for important customers across national boundaries, acting as a Europe-wide contact – entirely in keeping with the principle of ‘one face to the customer’.
Will the training programme for end users also be expanded?
Absolutely. We are setting up 15 training centres in Europe, and starting in 2017, NSK will train 10,000 users a year. In this regard, we are paying particular attention to the Emerging Markets, as there is a specific need for training here large need for training here. Practical experience with our products should help bind our customers even more closely to the NSK brand.
In your opinion, what industrial sectors offer the most promise for the future in Europe?
As one of the market leaders in Europe, NSK is already in a very good position in the market for wind turbine gearboxes, and we will continue to intensify our efforts here. I also believe there is potential in the field of rail technology. For example, NSK is the leader in the Japanese market, and is already fitting all Shinkansen high-speed trains with wheelset bearings. Wheelset bearings for the high-speed trains capable of reaching speeds of up to 350 km/h are one of the first European highlights; these trains are currently undergoing field tests at the French railway operator SNCF. Medical technology is another area in which I believe there is a bright future. Dentists worldwide are already working with drills in which NSK miniature bearings with a diameter of three mm are rotating at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm. We also want to establish ourselves in this sector in Europe.
You are planning a great deal: when will the new organisational structure be in place?
By the end of 2015. In other words, it will already be in place at the beginning of 2016, when NSK celebrates its centenary. With the new structure, the Industrial Business Unit will be helping us achieve the goal set by NSK President Norio Otsuka for 2016 of generating 1 trillion yen in turnover, which is approximately 7 billion euros.
Born in Austria in 1970, Michael Preinerstorfer studied metallurgy at the University of Leoben, Austria. In 1998, the qualified engineer started working for the IMI Group, which operates globally from its base in Birmingham, UK. Within the space of a few years, he progressed from sales manager to executive. Immediately before joining NSK, he was the sole director of IMI Hydronic Engineering Deutschland GmbH (previously TA Heimeier GmbH) in Erwitte, Germany.
In short, what exactly is AIP?
Using the wrong bearings or linear products – or fitting them incorrectly – can reduce a machine’s performance or even cause the whole plant to grind to a halt. NSK helps customers to solve these problems with its Added Value Programme (called AIP). NSK experts help users to make their operations and servicing processes more efficient – and therefore more profitable – with a practice-tested AIP procedure.
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