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.
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.
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.
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.