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Worldwide success

Tim Ollendorf, Head of Business Development Management at HANSA-FLEX, and his team are responsible for supporting our foreign subsidiaries. In this interview he reports on how the company is developing internationally.

Est. reading time is 4 minutes

Over 35 years ago Thomas Armerding, Chairman of the Management Board, founded the first subsidiary abroad. HANSA‑FLEX is now represented in 40 countries worldwide. A great success story, which Tim Ollendorf and his team are continuing to drive forward.

How has HANSA‑FLEX developed globally?

New national companies are constantly being founded, and we are now represented on six continents. Today these international companies generate almost half of the group’s turnover. Our international business is therefore becoming increasingly important for HANSA‑FLEX.

What does this mean for Germany as a business location?

HANSA‑FLEX was founded over 60 years ago in Achim near Bremen. This history is deeply embedded in our corporate DNA. Thanks to the commitment of the founding families and our employees, we are now a strong brand on the German market. We are continuing to work on this and are continuously expanding our position as a system provider. The figures also show how important Germany is as a location: over half of all our employees are based here.

What drives you and your team?

The company founders' vision. They laid the foundations for our global growth by establishing our first foreign subsidiary in the Netherlands in 1989. In consultation with the managing directors of the various subsidiaries, we decide where to place the focus of our strategic development and how to organise the individual cooperation. This approach also enables us to achieve long-term targets.

What is the strategy for international growth?

Today we are represented by 463 branches in 40 countries around the globe. However, we aren’t just concerned with expansion. We are aiming for sustainable growth by working closely with the local managing directors to develop the national companies further. Our aim is also to make a contribution to economic and social development by creating secure jobs with good long-term prospects.

What exactly does the cooperation look like?

As an intermediary between head office and our international subsidiaries, we are the first point of contact for questions and challenges. In doing so, we aim at long-term cooperation on an equal footing. After all, achieving progress together requires a basis of trust. Another success factor is that we supplement the individual requirements of the national companies with our own specific skills. For example, if the management in a country requires support in the areas of finance and controlling, we select a suitably qualified expert. In order to strengthen regional cooperation and utilise synergies, we are also forming clusters such as the Balkan states of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia together with Slovenia.

How does a foreign subsidiary grow?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In many cases, however, a common development profile can be identified. We start as distributors with the configuration and sale of hose lines. The next step is to expand the service operations, which can take very different forms depending on the specific country and branch. As a system provider, we still have a lot of potential on the market. By providing high-quality services, we create real added value for our customers worldwide and can differentiate ourselves from the competition. But of course we need well-trained staff for this purpose.

A major challenge in view of the shortage of skilled labour…

This is precisely why we are currently focussing on training and instruction for our employees across all countries. For this purpose we are investing in the training of graduates as well as in the further training of specialists, for example by setting up our own technical department on site. Our aim is for customers to trust our ability to overcome challenges because they are convinced of our expertise. For this reason we are also constantly expanding the area of customer training, which makes us a reliable partner for our customers all over the world.

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Worldwide success

Tim Ollendorf, Head of Business Development Management, talks about the increasing importance of international operations for HANSA-FLEX.