Rottach-Egern / Leinfelden-Echterdingen – “In uncertain times, we have been able to provide a real increase in customer benefits across the world.” This was the brief summary given by Marcus Sander, CEO of Roto Frank Fenster- und Türtechnologie GmbH (Roto FTT), of the development of the company, which he went on to describe as “very pleasing”. Over three consecutive years, the Roto FTT division has managed to successfully maintain its course of product range and company development, despite increasingly difficult conditions on the procurement markets. After this brief look back, Sander turned his attention to the internationally varying parameters that played a role in the turnover results for the construction elements sector in 2022 and will continue to have an impact in the coming year. He gave this speech as part of the 17th International Trade Press Day of the Roto Group.
Customer focus on delivery performance
The CEO began by emphasising that high delivery reliability will remain the most important customer requirement. With professional supply chain management and digitalisation of all processes, Roto FTT has set the stage for maintaining excellent delivery performance at a consistently high level in 2022 as well.
Thanks to personnel and machine capacity that can be redeployed to meet changing demands and a multi-level procurement process optimised for reliability, the company is well-prepared to act flexibly, he continued. Careful commercial decision-making, successful strategic acquisitions and continuous investment in factories have provided a very solid foundation for future planning by Roto FTT.
Digitalisation remains a major talking point
Sander also indicated that they will continue to “set a fast pace” for digitalisation efforts. A large number of projects are in place with the objective of increasing the performance of machines, tools and vehicles in production facilities. “For our customers, using an AI-based plant control system, for example, means that product quality and delivery reliability are maintained even if material flows or the energy supply fluctuate”, Sander stated, describing the customer benefits of these investments.
The “Roto City” digital consultation platform has enhanced communication and collaboration on the international level. Consultants from Roto FTT can use “Roto City” to present hardware solutions for a specific application in an understandable and informative format. An additional digital tool with substantial benefits will be available initially to European customers.
Using this self-service platform, these customers will be able to access data concerning products, hardware configurations, orders and delivery dates online. The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for ordering, delivery notifications and invoices is becoming part of the Roto customer portal. “We want to work together with our customers to increase the efficiency of the entire value chain via greater digitalisation”, Sander emphasised. EDI represents shorter machining times and therefore shorter delivery times.
Broad positioning – recognised expertise
Roto FTT will continue working to further develop its product range with undiminished commitment in 2023, Sander stated. A high proportion of the total turnover of Roto FTT – the global market leader for Tilt&Turn hardware – has for a long time been accounted for by systems featuring the Sliding opening type as well as the wide range of components for external doors and outward opening windows. Successes in the “Door” and “Sliding” market segments make a valuable contribution to our growth and results, Sander emphasised.
The influential “Roto NX” Tilt&Turn range with its wide array of products helps window manufacturers to flexibly respond to the requirements of their customers and ensure that their manufacturing remains cost-effective. With innovative products such as the “Patio Inowa” sliding hardware or the “Solid C” concealed door hinge, Roto FTT has additionally shown itself to be an excellent choice as a premium partner across the full range of building element manufacturers. “Because we have managed to achieve leading quality alongside availability for our products, Roto FTT has gained very notable new customers in previous years, even in extremely competitive markets”, Sander enthused. “We provide them with the greatest possible process and economical support.”
Innovations remain in demand
In North America, for example, Roto FTT has provided specific support for manufacturers in creating tightly sealed sliding systems in very large formats, such as those used in premium residential construction products. “As a result, we were able to gain a substantial market share in North America, which has now enabled us to set the stage for further growth.” On-site manufacturing capacity has already been expanded and is being expanded further.
In South America too, Roto FTT has succeeded in gaining market share with sliding hardware that meets demand for high sealing and optimal corrosion protection in particular. “Our takeover of the Brazilian hardware manufacturer Fermax in 2013 and its successful expansion provided a solid basis for further development in South America.”
Market changes in Asia
Following years of success in the flourishing market for new building in China and other Asian markets, Roto is also currently feeling the effects of the downturn in the real estate sector in this region. However, the CEO expects that the weakness of the new building market could be compensated for in the medium term in this part of the world as well via successful concepts for the renovation market. As such, this is the time for building elements that provide added value to shine. “And Roto FTT stands for added value, for excellent sealing, more operating convenience, more corrosion protection, greater functional safety.”
“Roto FTT currently supplies and supports building element manufacturers and specialist retailers in more than 100 countries worldwide”, Sander added as he came to the end of his speech, repeating the statement made at the beginning. As such, he indicated, further growth requires the ability to master highly complex circumstances and act with flexibility in markets in the face of a varying political and economic environment. In his view, the company is well-equipped on both fronts.
Apart from that, there is a desire for assurance that the qualities demonstrated over the previous three years will remain true in the coming year: That Roto FTT is resilient and will always enjoy somewhat stronger growth than the market as a whole. “We are striving to ensure that this remains so”, the CEO expressed with conviction. “As such, Roto FTT must continue to provide building element manufacturers with optimal advice and support – regardless of how easy or difficult this is made for us by the procurement markets.”
Group-wide sustainability initiative
The effort to ensure sustainable production will continue to strongly influence the commercial decisions of Roto FTT in 2023 as well. As such, for example, the company is continuing to promote the use of renewable energy at as many locations as possible. By reducing the environmental footprint of its own products, Roto FTT can make a contribution to the efforts of building manufacturers to achieve CO2 neutrality.
“We look forward to working together with our customers to shape the sustainable, digital future of the industry”, Sander emphasised in conclusion. “As a medium-sized company, we operate with a sense of proportion and fair collaboration.” Customers across the globe value Roto as a particularly reliable partner, and the company is making every effort to ensure that their positive experiences are reinforced in the years to come as well.