February 16, 2011
The Austrian sales success is very remarkable. Today most Austrian installers choose a Grundfos pump, when they buy a circulator pump. And it all started 40 years ago...in a wing on an old castle.
It all started 40 years ago. And, even though it was a humble start, the address was not humble, said General Manager, Roland Tschismarov, GPO.
- The first sales facilities were established in a wing of Schloss Leopoldskroon, known from the film ”The Sound of Music” and as the previous venue of the Salzburg Music Festivals. That was in 1971. However, the company grew and soon it was necessary to expand the facilities. So new premises were built in Grödig, close to Salzburg, he said.
The company moved into the new premises in 1981 and is still located there – now at an even more distinguished address. The road is called Grundfosstrasse.
Central position ensured central role
With its position in the centre of Europe, the sales company in Austria has played a very central role in the development of sales for the entire region. Throughout the 40 years the company has realised remarkable growth. With the exception of two years, Mr Tschismarov explained.
- We experienced two years of stagnation. One was in 1981, at which point I became Finance Manager. Maybe there is a connection, he said with an ironic grin, before going back into history to tell us about the time when it was some show trading with the East European countries.
- Austria has a long tradition and experience within business with the East European countries. As you know, we were the border to Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
When we arrived two or three persons at a sales meeting, we sometimes met up to 15 representatives from the country in question. There were people from the party, the security police, the government and the customer. It was quite merry then, he said.
New times after the fall of the wall
With the creation of the new map of Europe, after the iron wall was torn down in the years after 1989, the German export department established a separate company located in Wahlstedt and this company moved over to Austria nearby Vienna. In 1992 GPO merged with Grundfos Trading GmbH. and took over responsibility for the eastern European countries. We had to consider a new structure for sales to the growing and very attractive market towards east. Therefore Grundfos Austria in 1998 became the main office of CEREG (Central European Region) and this was the start of a true export adventure, said Wolfgang Lindner, Marketing Manager at GPO.
- At the beginning GPO was responsible for sales to almost all the countries in the region. Except Poland and Russia, which were still part of the German company. In the following years we handled the establishment of sales companies in each country which then became independent companies as they gained a certain volume, he said.
In 2009 the structure was changed once more and the main office of CEREG was moved to Switzerland. After this sales were again concentrated on Austria.
Constantly close to customers
When asked to explain why the Austrian company has done so well throughout the years, despite the challenges of mountains, long winters, changed organisations and a large number of competitors in the market, Mr Tschismarov and Mr Lindner agree:
- We deliver the best product in time. The Austrians don’t want to feel cold waiting for a pump to be delivered. They know they can count on us. In addition we have gained a status of market leaders and we are always invited to give tenders for big building projects in the entire country. Also, the development of our pump audits has turned out to be a good way of getting access to new customers, they said.