Helmet Wache, managing director, Endress + Hauser Instruments International, has visited Australia to officially inaugurate the process measurement instrumentation specialist’s direct move into the Australian market.
Wache said the decision to transfer the measurement and control division of former Australian representative Alstrom to Endress + Hauser last April, represented a global strategy by the Swiss company to have direct local representation in key markets, and had already resulted in “more competitive pricing, improved stocking, faster deliveries and improved customer service”.
Endress + Hauser’s move into Australia reflects a strong belief by Wache that there is extensive room for growth in the local market, which he feels has been under-serviced in the past by non-specialist suppliers.
“Endress and Hauser has a full range for the process industry, and the measurement and control industry is growing more than the other industries, so I think we have absolutely a lot of chances in the future. This is the reason we have invested a lot of money to establish our own company here to cover the market and to serve our customer in this way that they expect from us.”
Wache expressed amazement at the geographic spread of the Australian process measurement market, and said while the company had initially formed a base in the eastern states, it would continue to expand to directly service all regions as the company establish itself.
“We concentrate our activities especially here in New South Wales, Victoria and in Queensland, but it is our aim to do the business in the whole country of Australia. But we started last year and we have to grow, and it takes a little bit of time.
“It is our target that we cover the whole market, but not today. You know how big your country is, for me it is a continent!”
Apart from the obvious constraints of geography, Wache believes the differences between the Australian and European markets are minimal.
“Let me say the market is similar, but not the same, because all the security rules and so-on that are the same as in Europe. If you compared Australia, for example with India and China and so on, they don’t have the same rules for environment. Not yet. Australia is on the other side of the world, but it is very similar to Europe.”
But Wache believes Australian industry has been relatively slow to take up new products and technology, such as PROFIBUS.
“I think they started with new technology a little bit slow. I mean in this case the BUS systems, for example PROFIBUS… nobody will be the first one, everybody’s waiting for the next. We have already installed but it takes a little bit more time than in Europe.
“But I’m absolutely sure this is the future , no doubt. This is not a special case in Australia. We have this same experience in other parts of the world, for example, in Israel.”
Endress + Hauser covers a wide range of industries, ranging from the mining and minerals sector, to pulp and paper and shipbuilding and marine instrumentation, but Wache nominates water and wastewater as perhaps the company’s most significant area of focus.
“The chemical industry is important, (as are) foodstuffs, bulk solids and water and wastewater. Water and wastewater is a very important industry worldwide for Endress and Hauser.
“This is the industry which we focus our activities on, of we work for all other industries also, pharmaceutical, and so on, but this is the most important for us.”
Endress + Hauser has 24 manufacturing facilities worldwide and sales offices in 41 countries, including a recently established network of regional service support centres. As well as Australia, new offices were opened in Hungary and Portugal in 2001.
Although the company was built on level monitoring, its technology basket now includes flow, pressure, temperature, fluid analysis and data recording.
The company’s North Ryde, Sydney, facility includes a showroom and an advanced training venue, as well as extensive service workshops and warehousing for increased levels of day-to-day inventory. Sales are also available from the branch offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane and a network of representatives in other centres.