A Conversation with Laurent Nicolet, Schmid Group


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007:  There have been a lot of changes here in China both in business and also culturally with the middle class rising, what sort of changes have you seen?

LN:  I would say the big difference in the last five years is the change of the mentality of the young people, I would say 25-35 years old.  Before people wanted to work and earn the money, perhaps for the purpose of leaving the country. Now they will have fun: They will have a car, an apartment, they will go travelling, so now they have more demands than before. 

007: So the demands on the employers have increased to bring in better workers' rights.

LN: Yes, the workers want to have more money to have more things.

007: And they can demand it now, because there are other jobs and they know that they can leave.

LN: We are used to seeing on the television every time a bad example of China where people are working 14 hours or something like that. Now the salaries are going up with a salary increase between 10-15% every year which will make China less attractive from a certain point of view. So the government should be balanced a little bit better.

007: Are you actually manufacturing product in China on your lines?

LN: The lines manufactured here in China are all PCB lines, with some PV lines.

007:  How has that been manufacturing in China? Because some people have said supply lines aren't stable and have had issues with quality and consistency, do you run into those issues?

LN: No we've had no problem. We manufacture the same line in Germany and the same line in China because some people do not see the difference. The only difference was the packing: it was paper packing here and in Germany it was wood. That is the only difference. We have a good supply chain system in China with good suppliers, but what we have done is just to make the same parts and we do see a constant increase in the quality from our suppliers here.  

007: Where do you see the largest growth for your business at? You said automation earlier but is there something specific?

LN: I think the big gross can be with two new products we have: the automation intralogistic and our product called CYKLOS. CYKLOS is an anodizing system that is very compact, you don't need any waste water treatment system, and everything is inside the machine. This can be very interesting for the people with small parts to anodize. 

007: How is the European market for you guys?

LN: Very good this year. The German market is growing and we see a lot of changing of the old machine installations. The thing that we have to be careful is that we have two types of lines and one is a little bigger than the other, so when the people want to change to a new line we are coming with 1 meter more line and it can make some trouble. That is one of the concerns but Europe has been good for us this year.

007: And what about America?

LN: We are present in America for the use of substrates, and other than that it's been good but quiet.

007: Great, thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

 

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