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'Communicate with your customers'

18 July 2011

Denios MD, Roy Smith talks to David Strydom about the company’s recent business including its work with the food and beverage sector

Can you define what Denios does in your own words?
Denios is the European market leader for the storage, handling andcontainment of hazardous, flammable and dangerous chemicals and substances.

When, why and by whom was the company established in the UK?
Denios AG, the parent company, established Denios on 16 May 2000, aspart of its European expansion programme. Owing to the size and complexity ofour storage solutions, local country manufacture was essential.

How did therecession affect Denios - if at all?
Like most manufacturing companies, Denios was forced to streamline its operations across Europe and the US. At the same time, it invested in new technology and restructured its objectives to be more focused on the important factors ofrunning a successful business…

Are you finding the recovery is having a positive affect on your business?
The recovery has been quicker in some countries than others but with a growth of almost 20% in the UK last year, it has to be said the recovery has clearly started.

How much business does Denios do with the food sector?
A considerable amount; most flavourings are based on flammable substances; powders also create hazards with dust explosions. Over the years Denios has designed and built many different both standard and bespoke working storage solutions for its food related customer base. In addition, we’ve developed heat process units, to assist and streamline food production such asthe warming of caramel to allow it to flow easier.

How important will the food sector be to you in 2011 and beyond?
Very important, inexactly the same way as any other customer group. Without the relationship toits customers, no company can sustain itself in business long-term, thereforeDenios has a development programme in place to ensure its many staff aretrained to the highest level of customer service.

Does Denios have a view on 'lean manufacturing', and if so what?
Lean manufacture is fine but at some point where do you draw theline? Is innovation & Research & Development part of leanmanufacturing? Some would say not. I personally believe the most importantthing is to communicate with your customer base. If they require innovation,new ideas, problems solved, then investment in areas otherthan the total creation of value for the end customer is important – it’s justa case of how you classify it.

Could you elaborateon the UK hierarchy of your company?
Denios UK, has aclear hierarchy – below the MD, there are clearly defined responsibilities forsales, commercial / finance and engineering. All departments have open lines ofcommunication to assist in the day-to-day running of the company.

How important are sustainability and 'green' issues to the company?
Very important given our whole product range was born out of adesire to stop pollution of Mother Earth. We can’t continue to pollute theground we live on, the air we breathe and the water we drink. We are allenvironmentalist at heart, striving to ensure the safety of our mere existence.

What is it about your process that distinguishes you from your competitors?
Simple, investment in the latest technology, design competence, over 25 years of global experience, unified European operating systems, that sharedata and solutions country on country, a dedication and a drive to always bethe market leader, clearly directed by entrepreneurial vision from our chairman and main board of directors.

How important are exhibitions such as Total Processing & Packaging?
Very, some will sayexhibitions are just flag flying events, others will say they’re an unnecessaryexpense but the truth is every exhibition is an opportunity to get closer toyour customer base, to enlighten them with new ideas and methods of storage orprocess control, to educate them on changes in legislation and above all, anopportunity to sell, which at the end of the day is what keeps a businessalive.

What are your thoughts on the importance of investment in the BRIC countries?
Denios is a UK-based company, established to look after the UK market. While I have positivethoughts towards the topic of the BRIC countries, the “Big Four” (Brazil,Russia, India and China), policy as to how Denios would invest in thesecountries is not dealt with at my level… Working for a corporate type giantsuch as Denios does have some benefits!

Could you tell us more about your background in the manufacturing sector?
Personally, I’ve been MD of Denios for 11 years, having been recruited by Denios AG to start thecompany in 2000. I come from a wide diverse manufacturing and distributionbackground but my passion is in design engineering, which stems back to my apprenticeship days.


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