Over the past few years, Gurit — a global supplier of composite materials, engineering services, tooling equipment, and select parts and systems — has overcome a bevy of challenges.
It has had to master new technologies, deal with volatility in the marketplace, and execute the extension of its international reach, despite being a relatively small company in its field. CEO Rudolf Hadorn says these trials have kept the Gurit team busy; however, they have also served as an opportunity to improve and change the business for the better.
Rudolf joined Gurit in 2007 after working in the automotive and telecommunication fields. He says he was interested in Gurit’s operations because it was a global business, and very entrepreneurial due to its breadth as a mid-sized company. “It had several strong operational and strategic challenges that it had to master, so that gave me an interesting package to work with,” he says.
Trials have improved and changed the business for the better
“I’ve been able to master those challenges and have exited that very difficult period. We have continuously had a strong degree of support from the board and investors, as well as from our colleagues to overcome those difficulties. I am now happy to say that we are moving forward in the right direction.I believe that is pivotal for us and it will lead to future prosperity.”
Gurit has the entrepreneurial courage and determination to move in new ways. During the past year alone it has, among other things, developed a super-light (4 kilogram) carbon composite roof for a sport car to lower its centre of gravity, and enhance its performance and agility; rejuvenated the Dragon keelboat used by high-level dragon racers in Europe, a bold feat considering the original design had already been tweaked and perfected over decades; been involved in the creation of ARROW460 — a luxury motor yacht designed by Mercedes-Benz Style; and applied its state-of-the-art materials to a site-specific sculpture on the Scottish coast to take visitors back in time to when the area was covered by tropical forest.
With customer intimacy we specifically focus on our vertical markets. Customer focus truly is key.
“Our customers have given us a chance to succeed in each of these new areas,” Rudolf says. “We have had to reposition our offerings, and they have supported our new openings in terms of products and stuck with us despite all of the challenges.”
30 years of experience in the practical application of composites — spanning a wide range of market sectors and projects
The Gurit business has over thirty years of experience in the practical application of composites, and this spans across a wide range of market sectors and projects, from small parts to large-scale structures. This, combined with its unique technical approach, enables the company to offer the complete composite solution to its clients. Rudolf explains that Gurit’s key point of difference in the marketplace is its commitment to customer intimacy and product quality.
“With customer intimacy we specifically focus on our vertical markets. Customer focus truly is key. We want to be a partner to them, and we want to have a balanced relationship developed for the long term. I think that is a huge tool we have; we understand our target markets and our customers’ needs very well. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but that is the mantra we work by.
“Then, when it comes to product quality, innovation is crucial. And that is not only in terms of the product, but also with our business model. Innovation increases product performance and it reduces costs. With everybody under continuous pressure to improve their operations, we need to find ways in which we can support that.
“Speed to market is also important. For our tooling division we are faster than anyone else in the world at producing a mould. Therefore, when the customer is in a hurry we can provide a quick solution. That is an area we would like to continue to focus on. If we can produce many things industrially at a fast pace, and with a high level of quality, then that comes from innovation within our business model as well as the product.”
‘We would like to surprise our customers with more innovation’
Looking toward the next twelve to eighteen months, Rudolf shares that Gurit’s main area of focus will be on growth — through organic means and via selective acquisition. It will also continue to put a strong emphasis on innovation.
“We have a nice portfolio of products and services at the moment, but over the next year we would like to surprise our customers with more innovation. There will be a focus on the cost, speed, reliability, the improvement of property, and industrialisation. These are the trends that I see being prevalent in our industry and we will capitalise on them as best we can.
“Our strongest arm of business is our wind energy segment and we would like to grow that. Then there is also opportunity to progress in each of the other areas, such as marine, rail, and automotive. We will do this together with our customers and growth partners; they will always be in the middle of everything we do. Furthermore, we will ensure that
we deliver on our promises to them.
We have to maintain that approach for our growth, as well as keeping our entrepreneurial spirit and our strong financial returns alive. I would like to offer a word of thanks to all of our customers, and current and former colleagues who have contributed to Gurit’s journey in advanced composites — they have walked the extra mile and that has led us to achieving wonderful results.”