Together with partners active.
The joinery Kiess Innenausbau from Stuttgart is also active in foreign countries. Managing Director Wolfgang Rosskopf describes the challenges for the team of 50 employees at the location in Stuttgart.
Wolfgang Rosskopf recommends that craft businesses seek advice on foreign business and train urgently needed skilled workers in Germany.
Mr. Rosskopf, how is the mood and the order situation with you? How do you see in the near future?
Our order situation is still very good. Nevertheless, we have some concern because we can not see very far ahead. We are very short-term in our planning. We have no idea what will happen next year, but at the moment the order situation is still good.
What makes the joinery Kiess so good that even customers abroad have become aware of them?
We work in some special areas. We manufacture special products for our customers. These include, for example, ESD floors or about elevator cladding. These are special custom solutions that allow us to stand out to customers. Based on this, we have been able to open up new, attractive projects again and again in recent years and have made very good sales. With this, we have also been active abroad for many years, in all kinds of countries. This is also currently still so.
How did the foreign customers discover you?
We are mostly with or for other companies abroad. For example, for shopfitters in Switzerland, or currently for staircase manufacturers in Luxembourg. We are also active in other countries for elevator manufacturers.
“With the current framework conditions plays especially the topic of payment and money flow a big role.”
What then are your most important foreign markets?
That can not be said exactly at all, because it changes from time to time. It’s very project-dependent. As mentioned, we have been active in Switzerland for several years and also currently. But we were also active in the Middle East before, but that has become less in recent years. In the past, we were also active in Russia, but this is currently no longer possible.
When you now look at foreign projects: How stemmt then a smaller company the processing and the increased requirements of foreign business?
Yes, the foreign markets are difficult to develop and complicated. The Chamber of Crafts helps us a lot there. Handicrafts international informs about all the framework conditions to which one must pay attention. That helps us a lot. In other European countries, we also have the problem that we always have to meet very different requirements. In distant countries, the issue of payment plays a major role. How can you actually secure the flow of money? We have already gained some experience and already know what we have to do so that we can also successfully handle such a business..
Have you also already paid apprenticeship money?
Yes, of course, because situations in the countries of the clients can change rapidly. We worked in oil states many years ago. Then the price of oil fell, money became scarce among the clientele, and of course this also affects our company.
“The fully trained employee we getfrom abroadhere and who can workdirectly for us – there simply will not be. “
What advice would you have for newcomers to foreign markets?
So one important piece of advice from me would be to seek advice from Handwerk International. It is an important to know what to consider in foreign business. And especially it is important to pay attention to a secure payment processing – depending on the country in which you are active..
Let’s move on to the subject of the shortage of skilled workers. That plagues the craft especially, how is that with you?
We also notice more and more that it is more difficult to find people. In particular, technicians, engineers, masters are now less and less on the market, that was previously significantly different. We can already see that this will keep us busy for the next few years. We are trying to compensate by simply training and educating ourselves. We have had good experience with training migrants. But it is important to start early. After all, people don’t come here ready-made and fully trained, quite the opposite. With the technology we use in our company, there is still a lot of training to be done. So we try to compensate for the lack of skilled workers, but it is already scarce.
To recruit skilled workers from abroad – could this be a solution for you?
So far I have no experience with this. I think it is extremely difficult to bring trained people here. We have so far trained all our people here in Germany. We ourselves have many people who come here, who are interested, and whom we have to train accordingly. I would like to give an example of this. We have an employee in the work preparation department who studied architecture in Iran, fled and had to discontinue his studies. We then trained him and he became an excellent employee. We had to help him, of course, to prepare him for our labor market. I think that could be the way to go. The fully trained employee that we just bring here and then he can work directly for us – I think that’s just not going to happen.
Is that because of communication in the team or with customers, which is why you see limits there?
More because practical know-how is often missing in training abroad and of course the experience. Probably, however, the communication is an important issue overall. You need it, after all, to learn the technology we have. ▪.
“Technicians, engineers, masters are now less and less on the market, it was different in the past. We can already see that this will keep us busy for the next few years.”
Education is worth.
With a practical education and training in their own company compensates Kiess Innenausbau the shortage of skilled workers.