Successful Strategy Produces the Best Year Yet
In 2010, I opened my CEO’s statement with: “2010 was a really good year for Beijer Electronics.” I’m pleased to be able to say the same this year. The fact is that 2011 beat the previous year, and is the best in our company’s history in sales and profit terms. But that doesn’t mean we can just sit back and relax. We’re facing big challenges and we’ll need to work hard to continue the company’s positive progress.
High Potential on an Uncertain Global Market
The present situation on the automation market features uncertainty. The full consequences of the European financial crisis are still hard to take in and the US economy is also stuttering, even if the post-recession recovery has gone faster there. Asia started the year well, but strains on lending and deferred investments in China caused a clear slowdown in the final six months of the year. We have a strong offering and with our still-small market shares, a lower growth rate on the market would still offer enough potential to keep developing Beijer Electronics in the future.
New Countries—New Opportunities
One of our strategic goals is to create a well-balanced global business, present on all the world’s most promising markets. Our initiative in China and the rest of Asia, managed at business area level so far, is now entering its next phase. We have created a group-wide division whose mission is to increase our sales in Asia with an even greater presence and focus. Meanwhile, in the year, we started up our own sales units on two new markets, Brazil and India. Both countries are strong growth economies, and we’re excited about progress through the coming years.
Two Successful Acquisitions
Last year, much of the company’s focus was on executing two strategic acquisitions, of QSI Corporation in the US and Korenix Technology in Taiwan. Last year, the focus was on integrating these companies into Beijer Electronics. I’m satisfied to be able to conclude that both QSI and Korenix generated very good profits as early as their first year in the group. For QSI Corporation, the year brought a 30% sales increase, with a profit margin of 11%; Korenix also increased its sales by 26% and achieved very strong profits. Considering that integration work is still ongoing, this bodes very well for the future.
One Clear Product Development Strategy
In our sector, future-focused and customer-oriented product development is an absolute necessity for success on the market. In 2011, we invested more funds than ever before in our development operation, and we got a very good pay-off in the form of world-leading products and solutions. On the operator system side, we’re just starting the launch of a complete global product range of operator panels and industrial PCs with very competitive functionality and attractive design. In the industrial data communications segment, we’re well advanced in robust network products with sophisticated Ethernet technology.
Sharper Sales Work for Improved Processes
New markets, acquisitions and product launches are important, but we also work for growth with profitabilityin many other ways. In the year, we upscaled sales resources in the US, Europe and Asia and conducted extensive segmentation work to identify which customer segments have the greatest potential more clearly—so that ultimately, we can tailor our offering even better. We also continued our work on rationalizing our supply chain, and commenced implementation of a group-wide ERP system in the year, which will facilitate analysis and integration between companies and markets.
I’m looking forward to Beijer Electronics’ continued development with great confidence and I’d like to thank all the employees, customers and collaboration partners who are on this exciting journey with me.