Looking forward confidently to 20146th of January 2014 Article by Markus Asch
Markus Asch, vice chairman of the management board at cleaning equipment manufacturer Kärcher and president of EUnited Cleaning, writes his latest blog for the ECJ website. He looks ahead to the prospects for the industry in 2014.
2013 was certainly not an easy year. The first half in particular was marked by a great reluctance to invest and the countries of southern Europe are still in recession. For this and other reasons 2013 will see a stagnation in the Eurozone's economic output.
Unfortunately, growth expectations in the global economy were not fulfilled even though the North American market is on an upward trend. Large emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil, from which a strong growth impetus had emanated in previous years - including for our business - repeatedly had to revise their economic forecasts downward.
The CMS in September last year in Berlin was a very good event, showing once more the potential in our industry. A great deal of positive feedback from numerous trade visitors and exhibitors highlighted the fact that the exhibition is an outstanding platform for intensive exchange of ideas and experience. The first CMS Congress with its many exciting topics for the future and its practice-oriented accompanying programme played a large part in this.
What challenges will we have to face in 2014? Overall, I expect macroeconomic conditions to improve in the year ahead. Although large emerging countries seem unlikely to achieve the growth dynamic of previous years, the economic outlook for North America and major Eurozone countries is expected to be better than this year.
All in all, these are good preconditions for our business and for the further development of our industry. One highlight in the first half year will certainly be ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Amsterdam. I am sure there will again be many new things to discover, things that will give a strong impetus to the market. In addition, the trade fair fulfils a purpose that is no less important for producers, service providers and industry associations, that of making or strengthening contacts and discussing innovations.
They are the key to success - if they come from interaction with the users! Only taking into account all perspectives, manufacturers can create genuine problem-solving products and focus all their attention to the results that customers achieve with those products.
Precisely: together with the customer tackling the cleaning process as a whole and thereby achieve a significant increase in efficiency. A field of tension cannot be ignored here: on the one hand, to cover customers' current needs in the best possible way, on the other to identify trends early and to respond to the ensuing changed demands of the customers.
All of us share a common goal - the creation of added value. In this connection, services in particular will have an enhanced significance. I refer not only to the repair and servicing of machines, but to products and solutions that deliver added value.
2014 holds highly promising topics in store, which makes me confident of a successful year for the industry.