Martin Rothe, Managing Director of Kito Europe GmbH, talking about the company and his plans for the future
In the last 10 years, KITO has managed to assert its position on the European market for lifting gears as the only non-European company. How did you succeed?
I can only assess the achievements of past years from an outside position. However, as far as I have gotten to know the KITO company and the colleagues until now, there are three key pillars which led to KITO EUROPE’s success on the European market: Excellent product quality, customer-specific solutions and pioneer spirit. The product quality sets standards for the sector. Our customers receive the best possible service. KITO EUROPE builds inhouse customized solutions from standard products – allowing for our customers to ensure their high-quality standard in order to become or to stay unique on the market. All of this is only due to the pioneer spirit of the very first employees. With the backing of a strong parent company, they established KITO EUROPE all throughout Europe in 2006. I highly appreciate these persons’ power and drive.
What are your objectives for the years to come and what do these depend on?
Personally, my objectives are ambitious. I want success through growth and success through profitability. It is important to me to continue enthusing our clients about unique products and the KITO service. Furthermore, I attach high importance to my staff’s satisfaction and want them to be passionate about the company. A bad working atmosphere has negative impacts on a company’s success. During my term of office, we will never lack in fun or motivation.
Which role does the parent company play in this respect?
I am thankful for the enormous support from Japan regarding developing personnel and investing into marketing measures. KITO EUROPE can only be as good as the service and product range from Japan will allow. The parent company currently continues growing with the new, international positioning. In Japan, KITO is currently developing from a local hero to a global player. The executive management team now has a reorganized, international line-up in order to better understand regional demands. This has a positive impact on us as well.
Speaking of growth: What are the plans of KITO EUROPE for the near future?
We have great expansion plans and want to achieve a significant presence in Europe – both organically and through strategic partnerships. The B2B business will remain unchanged. Our retailers provide excellent service and our clients have regional contact persons who support and advise them very well. Of course, we support these collaborations by extending the product range and providing our retailers and clients with the whole package in the field of lifting gear.
Are there any sectors that KITO EUROPE wants to specialize on in the near future?
KITO products are unbeatable where the use of the hoist is extremely difficult and where products are pushed to their limits. In such extreme situations, the exceptional quality and durability of the product becomes evident. I am thinking of application in steel mills, foundries or offshore where competitor products cannot keep up. In the near future, more KITO products shall be used in clean room technology, food industry or in laboratories – i.e. wherever cleanliness is particularly important. And, of course, we will continue growing and offering customized product solutions in sectors where safety has top priority. As is currently in the case of overhead line projects – here, KITO products have been long preferred because of their outstanding security features.
Why do safety and ergonomics play such an important role?
With every use of lifting gear, security has top priority. As in all application fields where KITO products are used, even the slightest mistake could have fatal consequences. KITO fabrications are subject to Japanese perfection; meaning that they do not only comply with the minimum safety requirements but that they even exceed the safety requirements many times over. The Japanese standards – as we know from other fields – are subject to the highest standards of the developers. KITO products are developed precisely, well-checked several times during the manufacturing process, subject to most stringent quality controls and therefore set a global benchmark.
Is digitalization going to be an issue in the years to come?
Definitely, yes! If only to simplify communication and service for our retailers. We are currently investing immensely into our IT infrastructure in order to become a pioneer in this field in the future. For our retailers, the collaboration with KITO EUROPE should be as easy and uncomplicated as an Amazon order. Meaning that retailers can order goods online and receive their order the next day. Should a component not fit – simply return it. That is service.
The German claim “Mit Sicherheit das Original” literally means KITO products are “safe, the original and the best”. How is KITO EUROPE going to stay an original on the market and what product developments are expected in the future?
Currently, we are in the process of setting the course for KITO as a global player. We listen to the customer, so products will specifically tailored to meet the needs of different markets – custom products and customized solutions will be delivered from Japan to Europe. Globally, we will work together with conveyance universities to maintain our leading position in regard to safety and innovation in the future.
What achievements are you particularly proud of?
I am proud of the fact that all essential elements of the company change process have been implemented – resulting in success and process optimization in the near future. Furthermore, I really enjoy working together with my team because every team member is active and passionate about the development process. Only an open and positive corporate culture can bring change and achievements.
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