Let's talk about "next generation weight transmitters". How do you think that they have specifically contributed to the development of LAUMAS?
Towards the end of 2006, we started thinking about a new weight transmitter concept to innovatively meet the needs of OEM machine and system manufacturers, who are increasingly resorting to PLC to manage their machines' weighing systems. The weight transmitter would have to efficiently perform the key function of interfacing between load cells and PLC.
The idea was to produce an affordable, compact yet technologically-advanced product able to integrate all the functionality of a top-of-the-range weight indicator and to interface with any commercially-available PLC. Armed with their own cutting-edge EMC laboratory, our Research and Development department took this idea and developed the new "Made in Italy" innovative TL series transmitters.
LAUMAS' latest generation of weight transmitters guarantees successful interfacing with the PLCs of the most important international brands (Siemens, Rockwell Automation, Allen-Bradley, B&R Automation, Omron, Beckhoff, Schneider, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Bosch Rexroth, etc.) through the main fieldbuses on the market (Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP, PROFIBUS DP, PROFINET IO, Ethernet/IP, Ethernet TCP/IP, EtherCAT, POWERLINK, DeviceNet, CANopen, CC-Link, IO Link, SERCOS III, etc.).
The latest generation weight transmitters have effectively replaced the “OLD STYLE” weight transmitters (without displays and with limited functionality) over the last few years, and LAUMAS has successfully brought this concept to the world. It is incredible to think that until a few years ago, there were still markets where knowledge and implementation of this type of product was practically nil, yet today these transmitters are extremely popular and widespread. Thanks to the innovative and technological nature of the product, which LAUMAS constantly strives for, we have been able to influence construction and installation trends in multiple international markets (USA, FAR EAST, etc.).
In terms of online presence, if you search for the term “weight transmitters” on any of the main search engines (such as Google), LAUMAS is always one of the first hits. With no false modesty, we feel that we deserve this privileged position as inventor and major worldwide promoter of this new type of product. Without fear of contradiction, we as a company are proud of the fact that many of our larger and more renowned international competitors have undoubtedly been "inspired" by some of our weight transmitters, particularly the TLB series, which is surely an endorsement of the value of LAUMAS' indicator and transmitter range.
LAUMAS' success stems from its ability to design innovative products and to promote and disseminate them on a worldwide scale.
What strategic decisions have been taken to allow you to grow during these turbulent economic times?
Our growth, both in terms of turnover as well as workforce, has been consistent over recent years. By analysing the company's progress, we can say that LAUMAS has successfully bucked the trend of the financial crisis and has enjoyed a period of substantial growth over the last 5 years. Despite the international crisis causing a great number of companies to downsize, LAUMAS has experienced unprecedented success since 2007.
Another important figure is the number of new recruits, with the size of our workforce doubling over the last 8 years. The extremely harsh general economic conditions of recent years brought companies to a fork in the road, where they had to decide whether to grow or go under.
This forced those companies that wanted to continue trading at all costs to grow. LAUMAS was able to implement a significant investment programme enabling it to expand in Italy and particularly abroad, taking advantage of the rescaling of some of its less-reactive competitors that were unable to introduce the changes necessary to confront the market downturn. Our successful results are based on our strategy of Innovation and Internationalisation.
How has LAUMAS' internationalisation process taken shape? How is it developing and what are its objectives?
Over the last decade, we have taken part in international trade shows of the weighing, plant engineering and automation industries, while at the same time conducting targeted market research that has led to the addition of numerous potential clients from all over the world in our ERP. We have also launched a constant marketing and social media campaign targeting a consistent audience of potential clients from every continent (America, Asia, Africa, Europa, Oceania).
The fact that LAUMAS now has customers based on every continent is testament to the success of this strategy, and thanks to a dense and ever-growing network of distributors and dealers, LAUMAS itself has a presence in more than 100 different countries. Exports have increased significantly over the last period compared to previous years, consistent with the growth of the company.
Assuming the international situation continues to improve, the objective for the future is to significantly increase the company's share of the international market by optimising its internationalisation strategy. Raising awareness of the LAUMAS brand in new markets may be achieved with varying degrees of success over the short-, medium- and long-term, depending on numerous individual factors linked to the specific economic-political characteristics of different countries.
The company heads are looking to the future with confidence: we are making great strides in terms of technological innovation and continuing to bring a multitude of new concepts to the market, including high-performance indicators and weight transmitters at extremely competitive prices. This is reflected by recent collaborations with some of the international giants of the weighing industry.
EMC laboratory and investment in R&D, we will focus on these 2 concepts
The decision to create an internal Research and Development department furnished with adequate human resources and equipment, capable of autonomously developing projects and designing new and innovative products, was undoubtedly the turning point for the company, from which we believe much of the success we enjoy today can be traced. By designing and building the product ourselves, we are not dependent on subcontractors and are therefore able to offer more competitive prices to our customers whilst maintaining total control over the product that we intend to manufacture. By managing the entire process ourselves, we are able to make improvements and changes to ongoing projects so as to optimise product performance.
The company has invested heavily in the construction of an EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) testing laboratory for the R&D department, equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows us to stringently test all new LAUMAS products. Further significant investment has gone into the production of models designed exclusively by LAUMAS for the new series of ABS and stainless steel weight indicators, prior to obtaining the necessary certification from the international competent authorities, which has helped to reinforce brand identity and lower production costs.
Today, much of the product range has been designed exclusively by LAUMAS and officially registered in Europe (design registration). These products are only available from LAUMAS itself or through our dealer network.
Looking to the future, we have a number of ongoing projects to conclude, and we have only just begun a long journey to bring technologically-advanced products to the market at competitive prices. Our strategy is to pair top-of-the-range products, like our touch screen weight indicators at the cutting edge of the weighing industry, with more "basic" yet high-performance products like our new weight transmitters.
How are you promoting your own corporate brand?
Promoting your own corporate brand has become a key part of all modern companies. We believe that the LAUMAS brand must be promoted together with our corporate image in order to gain and maintain access to a greater number of international customers.
We shall be intensifying our efforts to raise awareness of our European-registered company logo to increase the value of our brand such that it instils product confidence in our customers - a distinguishing feature of the major brands.
Let's talk about your marketing strategy and the website
In this globalised age, we can communicate our own image through numerous channels and quickly reach potential customers from all over the world. With this in mind, the aim of our new marketing strategy is to promote LAUMAS using all the available internet-based communication channels.
Our website is now noteworthy and complete in every respect thanks to a comprehensive restyling; a task undertaken by an external team of specialists.
The following areas of the website deserve special mention:
- Download area: where the user can input their personal login details to access this private area to download catalogues, manuals and price lists.
- Assistance area: where customers can request technical support through Ticket (complimentary service).
- News and Events area: where new products and participation in trade shows are announced.
- Gallery area: where all the photos and videos of our products can be viewed.
- Standards and Directives area: where all the rules and guidelines of the weighing industry can be consulted to help spread the culture of legal metrology.
LAUMAS puts great stock in the effectiveness of video communication, deeming it to be an instrument of fundamental importance when it comes to advertising its own brand. As such, the company has just finished production of 500 videos available in 4 languages (Italian, English, French and Spanish). To optimise accessibility, LAUMAS has founded channels on YouTube, Vimeo and Daily Motion.
LAUMAS is active on the main social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.), which are regularly updated with news, events and company-related charitable initiatives. It did not take long to create the weighing industry's largest online community on Linkedin. The group, called “Weight transmitters for industrial weighing systems”, is the largest weighing industry group and is made up of members from all corners of the globe. It is a genuine technical forum where you can raise queries or ask the community questions about any aspect of weighing. This platform is for all industry operators who are directly or indirectly involved in the weighing industry, but is particularly aimed at dealers/distributors, systems integrators and machine and system manufacturers. To represent the LAUMAS brand, we coined the slogan “INNOVATION IN WEIGHING” to emphasise the product innovation aspect of our company.
How are you going to face future challenges?
We are looking forwards with confidence, in the knowledge that the only way to ensure a future of growth for our company is to constantly strive towards product research and innovation and to invest wisely in such ventures.
We already have new product ideas in the pipeline to develop, which we are confident will be successful and will help to maintain the technological GAP between us and our competitors.