RELINE, a global leader in GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) and UV technologies, has experienced a significant transformation since the new leadership team was formed. In this exclusive interview, we talk with CEO Christian Beckmann, CTO Frank Mersmann and CFO Patrick Heimpold about their vision, the company’s focus, and what the future holds for RELINE in terms of new markets, changes and innovations.
Christian, a bit over a year ago you started as CEO of RELINE. As a newcomer to the industry, what are your thoughts on the market and what excites you the most?
Christian: I have been impressed by the personal yet business-like nature of the industry. The open exchange with customers, partners, and competitors is a unique and enjoyable characteristic. Additionally, the industry is young and constantly evolving, which presents numerous opportunities for those who are willing to apply themselves.
That also sounds like a lot of opportunities! Frank, what do you believe is the most critical step for RELINE?
Frank: The classic field of non-pressure pipe rehabilitation, in which RELINE has established itself as a leading global manufacturer for over a decade, is an exceptionally exciting market. Further developments in terms of the product itself, pressure applications and the process are firmly anchored in our strategy for this area. Personally, I also see ,based on my experience in the supplier market for trenchless solutions, excellent opportunities for our products in these growing sales markets in the medium to long term
From an outsider’s perspective, the market for GRP and UV technologies appears highly unique and innovative. RELINE is the only company in the world that offers both high-tech product lines and runs its own Glass Center of Excellence. This provides you with a clear market position. However, I am sure that you face daily challenges such as shortages of skilled labour, persistent resource constraints, energy crises, and much more. What makes you so successful in overcoming these challenges? Patrick what is your perception about that?
Patrick: RELINE has a very strong foundation centred on the company’s past, the way in which it was built by its founders, the bond we share with our customers and, most importantly, the people working in the company today. Talking about workforce, the special thing for me is the high level of diversity we have compared to similarly sized companies. Our team is very international and comprises people with significant experience in various professional fields, coming from a wide variety of different industries that are either complementary to our sector or more mature.
Combining these areas of expertise and providing extensive room for new ideas enables us to master the most difficult challenges and to be innovative.
A good example for our innovation capabilities is the world’s l argest CIPP Liner project that was recently successfully installed in South Korea by one of our customers. Being able to offer complete packages of product, technology and service is becoming increasingly important. In this specific case, our application engineers worked hand in hand with our customer throughout the implementation of the project, starting with the project planning.
Frank, you are also making progress in the field of pressure pipe rehabilitation. You have recently completed several projects with the AQUA.UV (potable water) and Alphaliner PN (other media) in France, which sounds promising. Can you tell us what challenges you face as a manufacturer in this area?
Frank: The challenges we face are clear to us and that is exactly what to work on further development every day. It is larger diameters, higher pressure-rates, sometimes temperatures and the type of media that are transported in pressure pipelines that continually challenge us. Furthermore, every construction site has its individual requirements which we must overcome while managing the installation together with our certified local partners. In addition, the different approval procedures in each country represent another ongoing challenge to face. In this regard, we GRP-Liner manufacturers are required and supposed to work together and present a united technological platform. This is the only way to ensure that innovations relating to our process are also approved for new applications and that we are thereby able to provide our customers with new growth prospects.
Now the industry is already feeling the first changes in your company since you joined. Visually, too: Christian, you implemented the relaunch in just a few months. What motivated you to be one of the first to take this step?
Christian: One corporate group, multiple public images. I found this irritating, and I was certainly not the only one. At the same time, however, it was not the most important factor in this decision. It was about the value proposition that we offer our customers, one that they should be able to connect with.
The brand relaunch is just one element of the corporate organisation’s continued development. The RELINE ACADEMY, which for years has stood for the sharing of technical and practical expertise across international borders, the strengthened internationalised internal sales service, and the expansion of application engineering, including for pressurised applications, are further building blocks of the company’s development. Our clear objective is to expand the services we provide to our customers and make them available in the various markets around the world with a strong brand, a strong, centrally managed organisation, and local employees.
We are proud that we have already been able to make great strides in just a few months. Also, you can expect to hear about many more exciting topics. The focus here is on RELINE ACADEMY.
A relaunch is approached step by step with a clear goal in mind: What were your requirements for the company’s new image and how did the project launch go?
Christian: This is an exciting topic that I would be happy to discuss with you in detail. To give you a brief insight, for today’s purposes I will stick to the requirements that are most important to us. We are focusing on presenting ourselves as a unified organisation, no matter where in the world we are, and on having an appealing image, in bothc lassic and digital settings. It goes without saying that our customers need to be able to easil yfind and access our services. It does not matter whether it is a brief interaction, providing the required support during the project preparation phase, supplying documents, assisting with project implementation or simply classic communication: all these aspects will continue to develop step by step.
The project itself went very well and I am convinced that we will look back on a great success in the coming weeks. In short sprints, we implemented sub-projects in expert teams, whether that be the redesign of the website, which will be gradually overhauled following the relaunch, or the expansion of RELINE ACADEMY, which will take place at the same time. This year alone, we have hosted more than 15 international training groups at the ACADEMY. Municipal authorities and processing companies were brought up to date regarding the planning process for UV lining and how it is used in practice and took part in in-depth technical discussions with us. Also, they got to experience the new face of RELINE along the way.
It sounds as though you have a highly motivated team and, of course, a big task to contend with. What elements do you see as playing a role int he new design and ensuring a high degree of brand recognition?
Christian: Those who look at our new appearance and the associated evolution of our logo will immediately see that we use clear lines and refrain from extensive descriptions in the headlines. Clarity plays a big role for us in general. This isa lso reflected in the colour choice. The dark blue stands for fluid media and technical brilliance, while the yellow stands for constant activity, openness, customer proximity as well as the application itself. The elegant design is reflected in every detail of the implementation, so you will recognise it everywhere in the RELINE locations in the future.
Christian, and now to our last question. Were there any other details that had a positive influence on the relaunch and above all, we are curious about what else awaits us?
Christian: As always, it is the people who bring about change and so I would like to extend my special thanks to them. Whether it is the team in our company who worked on the design, or the craftsmen who brought it to life with great commitment and creativity, it is all thanks to them.
As for what is to come, I do not want to say too much. However ,I would like to invite everyone to come and experience what has already been implemented here in Rohrbach. Whether it is through training, talking to us, or simply visiting, perhaps in connection with the RELINE ACADEMY or at the RO-KA-TECH in Kassel in early May, we say – Welcome!