Into a good future with a new investor
KSL Kuttler – Investor values the development strength of the Dauchingen technology company
KSL Kuttler Automation Systems GmbH, manufacturer of automation systems for the PCB industry, had a large partner in the last years in SunTech, who supported business from afar. After SunTech left the company for business-political reasons, the management team of KSL Kuttler was able to take a new strong investor on board – Chinese entrepreneur Tao Zipeng. He would like to continue the path to success close up together with the management team of KSL Kuttler.
In the last years, path to success meant: clean turnover increases due to expansions of the portfolio and new, successful products. After an annual turnover of 4 M Euro in 2014, the management is now expecting a turnover of 6 M Euro for the business year of 2015 – and increase by as much as 50 %! The best about it is that the turnovers are increasing on markets around the world. The US are showing enormous growth rates, but Europe and Germany in particular have also developed stably, as the management of KSL Kuttler stated.
Further customer projects are underway and the capacity utilization of the near future suggests an outstanding perspective. The resonance for the new product line is very good and further projects are already in the offer or design phases. Considerable growth is expected for the present business as well as for new developments from all regions.
The new investor took over the entire management and all employees. For the entrepreneur, this was an indispensable prerequisite for the asset deal. Trust in the present structures and the KSL Kuttler Team and reputation is enormous. It will perfectly supplement the range of the Chinese company on a strategy level. The positive development forecasts have led to an increase of the employee base by 20 % since April. Many former employees who left the company due to the situation at the time could be brought back. For example, the new head of production, Vitali Kischenko, will supplement the internal structures known to him from 11 years of experience at Kuttler.
All employees consider the new situation a great opportunity – not least because it is a strategic investment of the Chinese company. The entire team is highly motivated and working with great joy. This is noticeable when talking to people through all levels of the company. Employee growth will continue soon. The sales team is to be increased by two, to further drive direct sales in the USA and in Germany.
The old Kuttler team in China, which had already been working successfully on the Chinese market in the wet-system industry, could be brought back. This was important and good for the Chinese investor. The team will reinforce the on-site service and direct sales in this important economic region again. They bring great technical know-how on the entire Kuttler range and pervasive market knowledge. Further service partners in the PCB business, e.g. in the USA, will be integrated into the organization and effectively contribute to developing the international service options. The new strategic focus on reinforcement of own structures is clear.
The three management members have international business experience and will drive the development powerfully in future. Every one of them has single signatory powers and can make decisions in overall responsibility alone on site. Kee Yat Chua’s responsibilities will focus on the technical area. He also supports a second company of the investor in China, as well as offering many years of professional experience in a leading position in German engineering. Commercial matters will be in the hands of Andrea Weniger, who has been working in executive positions for Kuttler for years. She knows the technical matters and essentially helps to determine the strategic alignment. She will also offer constant and overall-responsible competence for employees and customers available on site. Last but not least, the third manager will be Chinese investor and entrepreneur Tao Zipeng, who is considering moving to Germany with his family.
The three are deemed competent managers in the industry. The roadmap plans for the near future draw attention. In the area of R&D (Research and Development), another 3 M Euro will be invested – after the large investment in the purchase. New projects and innovative adjustments in the present successful product lines are to be implemented. The product groups FlexLine, CleanLine and CompactLine are developed in the customers’ sense. Apart from this, alignment of the product range with the Industry 4.0 standard is to be continued. The subject is not new for the Kuttler team, but is to be sustainably and pervasively continued. An entire range of new developments is planned as well.
“The current new situation brings us compact structures. With short paths to decision, we can react to new requirements quickly and be close to the market. The increased flexibility, focus and changes to the company are an exciting phase for us and make us look forward to the future. We are already registering clear improvements in the working processes. The new strategic funds are noticeable and all employees of KSL Kuttler Automation Systems are ready to move forward.” Manager Andrea Weniger knows what she is talking about. She has been working for Kuttler for many years – and she has detailed knowledge of the company and market. During her ‘inauguration visits’ to the customers in the USA and Germany, she received a lot of positive feedback on the new structures and plans.
There are few outward changes for the customers. The name ‘KSL Kuttler Automation Systems GmbH’ is retained, so that the quality label will continue to represent Dauchingen technology. The machines will still be produced in Germany – at the site near Villingen-Schwenningen, where KSL Kuttler has been working since it was founded in 1988. The handling machines for PCB production have long become established on the market and will remain a strategic core competence and continue to strengthen their position on the global market in future.
The asset deal from April 10th of this year is a win-win situation for all parties involved. A strengthened basis, strengthened perspectives and experienced know-how generate motivation in the entire team, while making the competition watch out. The high production depth, engineering know-how, also in special machine construction, will remain the key strategy. The strengths of the product range will be developed further. Productivity increases for the customer, flexible systems from simple customizing by small assemblies have always been one of the strengths at KSL Kuttler.
The transfer and the new plans have been put into practice rapidly by the persons responsible. The quick decision-making is documented by the very short-term decision to have an information stand (hall B2, stand 382) at ‘Productronica 2015’ in Munich from 10 to 13 November. The demand for informal talks was signaled by many potential customers. A technology day at the corporate seat in Dauchingen is planned to present technical novelties and future perspectives next spring as well. This is a concept that has already been received outstandingly well by present and potential customers in the last years.
The experienced R&D department has long been feverishly working on the things to be presented to the technical world in Dauchingen next spring. We may be excited.