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Gira and sustainability
Report 2017

International market development The Olympic stadium in Kiev, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones in South Tyrol, the Banyan Tree Hotel in Shanghai and the Artisan boutique property development in London are four international showcase projects where Gira solutions have been installed. They show that the building control systems developed in Radevormwald can be successful outside Germany. Gira is a family-owned company which has been supplying customers abroad for many decades and now exports to 38 countries. Simone Kulla-Wolinsky, Head of International Marketing, explains the challenges involved in internationalising the business.

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How important is internationalisation to Gira?
Simone Kulla-Wolinsky: International positioning is an essential means of maintaining our competitiveness and ensuring our future viability. Around 90 percent of the market potential for building automation and smart home technologies is outside Germany. The emerging markets, which include countries such as China, are of particular interest to us because their flourishing construction sectors offer the opportunity for long-term growth. By contrast, only moderate growth is possible in the German market, because both we and our competitors already have high levels of market penetration.

What are the greatest challenges here?
Simone Kulla-Wolinsky: The technical requirements for products vary from one market to another and we have to work with different installation standards, such as the British standard. In addition, the electrical voltage is not the same all over the world. Sociocultural factors are also involved, such as varying tastes, different relationships with design and individual installation and operating preferences, all of which we have to take into account. Within our own organisation, we need to increase awareness of internationalisation. This includes ensuring that we have enough international employees and considering legal issues and the company cultural fit when we hire new staff. We also have to adapt our structures to meet the requirements of international business and to accommodate a much larger volume of orders from outside Germany, for example from projects in China and the UK. Areas such as customs and freight management will become much more important in future. It is essential that the employees at our headquarters in Germany are aware of the very different requirements of foreign markets and the special factors involved in doing business internationally. We need to take a more international approach.

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"As we develop our international markets, our aim is to take a balanced approach. This includes adapting our organisation quickly to the requirements of doing business outside Germany and raising awareness among all our employees of the importance of opening up international markets."

Thomas Musial, Managing Director

What does that mean in concrete terms?
Simone Kulla-Wolinsky: We must integrate the requirements of our international business into our everyday activities and, of course, take them into consideration in our product development and marketing activities and other key processes. All our employees must understand that they also bear responsibility for our performance and for the success of the company in overseas business.

How do we want to operate internationally in future?
Simone Kulla-Wolinsky: We are deliberately taking a selective approach and actively developing a few choice, promising markets in order to generate long-term growth.

 

If you want to find out to which countries Gira supplies its products and solutions, visit our international website.

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Gira and sustainability
Report 2017