After the two-year pandemic break, during which practically no trade fairs could take place, the GROB In-house Exhibition 2022 takes on special significance. All the greater are the expectations and excitement before the trade fair, but also the joy of being able to meet in person again after a long time in a trade fair setting. In order to be able to recreate the atmosphere of the GROB In-house Exhibition, we have already spoken with visitors, representatives from the worldwide GROB sales network, and also with the management during the days of the exhibition.
Interview with Mark Schoofs, GROB Benelux Branch Manager
Mr. Schoofs, before we talk about the machinery market in the Benelux countries - what is your impression of the In-house Exhibition, here at the headquarters in Mindelheim?
As this is my first in-house exhibition at GROB, I naturally don't have a comparison with previous trade fairs, but it is impressive to see what GROB can offer in terms of technologies. The way of presentation in connection with the partner exhibitors is also unique.
Do you expect customers from your region and from which industries are they?
Our customers rarely take the time for an in-house exhibition. What pleases me is that I can welcome two very important customers from the Netherlands here in Mindelheim. These are then guests with concrete intentions. It is a TIER 1 company that produces castings and the second customer is a smaller company, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, which is an important industry here in the Netherlands.
Four years ago, the branch GROB BENELUX B.V. was founded with the aim of intensifying support for the market. What has been achieved so far?
Important for us and our first task was to position the GROB brand and at the same time intensify contact with our existing customers. Above all, we had to further expand our service, and were able to hire a third service technician for this purpose.
The semiconductor industry in the Netherlands is traditionally very strong. What can you say about it today?
Yes, that is correct. Our customers are often suppliers for ASML and use 5-axis universal machining centers. Equipped, as we say in the Netherlands, with "upscale equipment" because of the link with automation systems.
What is the customer structure in the Benelux countries? Are they more small or medium-sized companies?
For the most part, we have a few large companies, but still many small and medium-sized companies with 10 to 25 employees.
How are these customers responding to 4- and 5-axis technology?
In the Netherlands, we certainly have 99 percent 5-axis machining centers. We mainly deal with jobbers who demand maximum flexibility and therefore use 5-axis machines.
Finally, what do you have to say from the perspective of a branch manager?
Since we are very flexible with our customers in the Netherlands, we need a lot of flexibility in our cooperation with GROB. It is particularly pleasant that GROB, as a family-owned company, can offer short distances, despite its size.
Thank you very much for the interview!