Overseas support

Machine Makers Change Setting

machines
Machine enginners are being located closer to customers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Firms hope that by providing support closer to customers in Asia and Africa they can reduce machine downtime for customers.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • With a 16 percent market share, German manufacturers are number one in the international export business.
    • German machine makers have a strong presence in China, Japan and Southeast Asia but find it expensive to provide local support.
    • Companies are beginning to form small partnerships to reduce the costs of offering localized customer services.
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    Audio

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German machinery manufacturers are increasingly finding that marketing products as ‘Made in Germany’ is not enough anymore when it comes to international sales. More and more often, the clincher is the provision of first-class customer service.

“It is no longer possible to justify premium prices simply with the label ‘Made in Germany,’ ” said Dorothee Herring, a partner at the Dusseldorf office of the consulting firm McKinsey. “Service is becoming an ever more important distinguishing feature.”

Germany-based LPKF Laser & Electronics and its subsidiaries, for example, have been present for years in the Asian market, and countries such as China and Japan are among the firm’s biggest customers. The maker and supplier of machines for the electronics industry derives more than half of its annual revenues of €120 million ($130.6 million) from the region. In particular, subcontractors for large manufacturers of smartphones utilize the products of the listed firm, based in Garbsen near Hanover.

Sales in other Asian countries are modest, yet LPKF is building up its presence there.

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