ECHO – The magazine of the pfenning group 2021
Portrait of European country managers
ECHO: In your opinion, what made Sonima so interesting for the pfenning logistics group?
Gerlach: It was certainly important that since 2005 we have continuously developed as a supply chain specialist for the – let's say the mobility industry – and not only offer pure logistics services, but have also always had our finger on the pulse of the market. And then exciting topics came up with the customers, in addition to logistics. So not only storage and transport, but also the repacking of parts from shipping containers into special load carriers, the industrial cleaning of engine blocks, for example, or the assembly of parts, CNC metalworking and welding applications. I think it is the portfolio of services complementing logistics that made us interesting for pfenning logistics.
ECHO: Value-added services from Sonima, logistics from pfenning logistics: can the two companies offer more together than each can alone?
Gerlach: That is indeed the case. In the past, both pfenning logistics and we have had requests from customers that we, as individual companies, had to turn down with a heavy heart because, for example, we didn't have enough expertise or capacity for more complex value-added services. Services that complement logistics, such as sandblasting, degreasing and cleaning parts, metal cutting or complex assembly are no longer a criterion for exclusion. We have already launched a number of joint bids in response to invitations to tender, in which pfenning logistics takes on the logistics part and we provide the desired value-added services. Further synergies result from the use of warehouse space. We have actually always needed more space than we had. pfenning logistics can now offer us that. This in turn creates space for new business areas for us, from which we both profit. So we can definitely speak of a symbiosis with meaningful synergies.
ECHO: Which business areas are these?
Gerlach: Currently there are two topics that we are pushing for the future: on the one hand, services related to mobility, especially everything that has to do with electric or hydrogen mobility, and on the other hand, disassembling engines and reconditioning the individual components so they can be sold under guarantee. We are currently in initial talks with a manufacturer of e-bikes about welding bicycle frames, including assembly and the entire warehousing and logistics. We are also currently working on other projects related to the mobility industry. In addition, the business field of disassembly is also very exciting. From around the second half of 2022, on behalf of a large truck manufacturer we will disassemble up to 20 truck engines per day, inspect the parts, remove rust and clean them in a specially purchased industrial washing facility. We will then deliver them to the manufacturer's engine plant or to its spare parts warehouse. We are convinced that the topic of engine disassembly in connection with sustainability cycles is also interesting for other truck manufacturers – our branch in Sweden already has potential customers in its sights.
ECHO: How do you see yourself positioned for the future?
Gerlach: Hardly any other supply chain service provider offers the breadth of services that we do, from exhaust manifold welding to customs clearance, both nationally and internationally. For this reason we see ourselves continuing to be a strong partner for our customers and, in view of the opportunities now opening up with pfenning logistics, on course for growth in the future.
Together, we will continue to develop our know-how and use it for future requirements.
The acquisition will also make it easier for us to make one or the other larger investments. Mobility, regardless of the energy source, and sustainable value creation cycles will form the core of our activities in the future.
ECHO: All the best and thank you very much for the interview
The three foreign subsidiaries in Poland, Sweden and Hungary are important pillars of the Sonima Group. Behind them are motivated teams and managing directors who have been with the company for a long time and understand their business
Managing Director Sonima Poland
For Tomasz Staron, what makes his work special are the company's internationality and the challenges it faces as part of an intercontinental supply chain between the EU and the Far East. The 42-year-old has been on board since April 2014 and experiences his most important customer sector, the automotive industry, as a very special economic sector. “High demands, a high level of dynamics, many and rapid changes, especially at this time – that keeps us on our toes, you don't get rusty as a service provider," he reports. That perfectly matches his attitude to life: "Get used to change". "Not easy," he says, "but who promised it would be easy?" During covid, his branch in Poland was able to benefit earlier than others from the restart of the Chinese economy in late 2020, when customers there started ordering again in greater numbers. He relaxes from his job with his Gibson electric guitar, heavy metal music and his Harley Davidson.
Managing Director Sonima Hungary
Laszlo Mozes, 50, has been with Sonima in Hungary since March 2008. His branch is located in the Hungarian automotive triangle of Budapest-Györ-Tatabanya – and has open space, production, mechanical engineering with CNC machining capabilities, a 1,000 t press and storage facilities. "In the coming years, we will certainly benefit from the fact that our site will be connected to the Hungarian motorway network and that we can reach this important automotive location in Slovakia via a new railway line from Székesfehérvár to Bratislava." During covid he was also able to acquire orders from a completely different industry: medical technology – it involved the production of brackets for ventilators. Laszlo Mozes takes to heart the life motto "Only those who have gone through hard times can appreciate and enjoy good times". Cycling, playing badminton, dancing and all kinds of water sports are his hobbies with which he recharges his batteries in his spare time.
Managing Director Sonima Sweden
At 36, Sebastian Lupomech is the youngest of Sonima's quartet of European managing directors. He has been with the company since April 2012 and manages a team of 16 employees in Sweden. A cooperative, family-like working relationship is important to him, in which everyone supports each other. "This special working atmosphere is one of the things I love about my job," he says, "the others are the challenges of speed, responsiveness, flexibility and precision that you have to master as a service provider for the automotive industry. That means the job is always exciting." His philosophy of life, that even small advances can make a big difference in the long run, helps him to gain a sense of achievement from every day if possible. Bowling, time with his family and walks with his dog provide the necessary balance in his free time.
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