Susanna Salvador has been export manager at Roen East since 2013: she has brought the deep knowledge of the world of heat exchange that she has acquired during her previous professional experiences.
A long path in this sector.
That’s right. I started in 1984 and since then, except for a 7-year break during which I worked for a company that builds machines for the theatre, I have dealt with the entire supply chain working at different companies, spanning from heat exchangers in the commercial and industrial sectors to components and even production machinery. I’ve been at Roen Est for 5 years now.
What is your job at the company?
I was called to work as export manager to coordinate our agents and distributors in different areas. Our targets include: commercial development and growth around the world, in particular in countries outside Europe and in South America which is becoming one of the company’s key markets.
In addition to myself, another export manager, Franco Vrech, is working directly in the market and follows the Scandinavian market.
The market of Eastern Europe, Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, instead, is directly managed by the Technoklima Bratislava agency, with which Roen Est has been collaborating for thirty years now.
The Dutch and German-speaking markets are covered by a professional in the field, Marianne Blonk, who has been our exclusive agent for many years.
Roen Est’s commercial reality is particularly articulated: the three product lines (custom-built finned pack heat exchangers, unit coolers and shell and tube exchangers) have many diverse applications and for each of them RoenEst produces for the different sales channels. OEMs, distributors, installers and companies have very different purchasing dynamics and according to these characteristics and needs, distribution and sales approaches change completely.
So, development is focusing increasingly on foreign markets.
Although the domestic market is always an extremely important part of the company’s business, internationalisation is part of Roen Est’s DNA. It has always exported from Australia to the Americas: just think of Roen Est Sro, the Slovakian plant, established in 1999 to develop markets in Eastern Europe, but that now supplies finned pack heat exchangers to major customers in various foreign countries.
How has the industry changed in recent years?
Despite the break that took me for a while to a completely different sector, I thought I would find the market and the heat exchange supply chain as I left it: but in those 7 years a lot has changed, not only our market, which is definitely much more complex and structured, but also the economic and commercial scenario in general. Just think of the modes of communication with customers: in a few decades we have gone from the desk phone and fax to the speed and immediacy of Whatsapp which is becoming a widely used business tool.
What makes the difference in this new scenario?
The human approach, without a doubt. In a highly competitive industry that is running faster and faster, the relationship with customers is the key to success: you have to cultivate relationships, visit customer companies, listen to their needs and be a team player. Clearly, all this needs to be based on product quality and service reliability, as well as the ability to relate in order to ensure trust, peace of mind, and loyalty over time.
It is therefore normal to visit our customers constantly and ensure them the right visibility also in our communication, starting from our website where they can tell about their projects and news.
What are the most important moments of your work?
The continuous trips to visit customers and participate in trade fairs first of all: trade fairs are a place where you can display your products, but they are above all a meeting place with acquired and potential customers where you can present the brand, the organisation, the range and above all the constant product development effort.
The most important international events (MCE in Milan and Chillventa in Nuremberg) are held every two years and they are both falling this year. In Milan, we presented ourselves in a new way with an event organised at the stand dedicated to operators, customers and suppliers who were able to learn all the news during a social event, accompanied by the live music of a string quartet.
As for our appointment at Chillventa, even though it is just a few months after the MCE, we will be presenting further new products for all three Roen Est production lines. In addition to these two major trade fairs, we participate in specific exhibitions for the various application sectors in various countries such as Mcter (Italy), Sifa (France), Expoalimentaria (Peru), Expopesca (Ecuador), and Climatización y Refrigeración (Spain).
What is Roen Est’s vision for the future?
International growth continues to be a key objective: exports account for about 70% of turnover, but we aim to increase this percentage further.
It is the very nature of the company that leads it to move towards new markets where there are the greatest margins for development and growth. Roen Est strongly believes in internationalisation: that’s why it continues to invest in processes, human resources and innovation so that the breadth of its range is always up-to-date and competitive.
The company website is also becoming more and more international: now it can also be navigated in Slovak and Polish, in addition to the seven languages already present.
I would like to close this interview by quoting the great Italian FCA manager, Sergio Marchionne, who recently passed away, a thought that is encouraging and driving us on our journey around the world:
“We will always be like music, we will improvise, we will be agile, open to debate, humble, but fearless, and there will never be a place for mediocrity.”