This time we want you to introduce you to our distributor in Poland, AEA Technique, one of our main partners since 2006, more than 10 years ago. Mr Wojciech Michaleskul, General Manager, has not hesitated to answer the questions in this interview about their experience with Tecfluid service and flow and level measurement equipment.
We find interesting his point of view about all these years of business relationship with us, we hope you do so.
How did you decide to work with Tecfluid? Had you ever worked with a Spanish supplier?
No, I had never cooperated with a Spanish company before. I would even say that initially my motive was more willingness to discover this country. I had visited Catalonia a few times travelling privately before, always returning to Poland with very good impression. So, the decision was not really difficult to take. I was looking for a manufacturer of flow and level measurement equipment I was interested in and I found Tecfluid.
I made an appointment and I quickly flew to Barcelona. When I arrived at my destination – the head office of Tecfluid – and after my first talk with Mr. Reina, I already knew that our cooperation would be successful. And it has actually been like this until the present day.
After 10 years I can say that my decision was one of the milestones in the development of my company.
Which were the main challenges you faced to introduce Tecfluid products in your market?, how did you solve them?
For many reasons which are often justified, the Polish market trusts and got used to the goods manufactured in the neighbour countries such Germany. They have been Poland’s biggest trade partner for many years and our trade exchange dates back many centuries. The presence of many plants owned by German companies is significant here. One of the biggest challenges for us, as a distributor of the Tecfluid brand in Poland, is to change the stereotypical thinking of our customers about this concept.
In fact, a broader choice of instruments is in interest of the customer. We persuade future users to buy our products and ensure them that they do not risk much by following our advice. We try to do this in different ways – by providing maximum support prior, during and in the after sales process, giving consumers the opportunity to see how our products work through presentations and technical trials, or by lending the instruments as well in some occasions.
These efforts help us to achieve a high rate of finalised sale transactions, which of course is important to us, but we are even more satisfied with the fact that Tecfluid flow and level measurement equipment prove their high quality in operation. If we add other benefits such as support, high quality of service, or favourable business terms, such successful applications lead to long-term cooperation with our customers.
“Tecfluid meet our expectations 100%, regardless of the complexity and size of the project, we always work together to find a solution”
Which were the first reactions of your clients regarding Tecfluid products?
I am very glad that the Tecfluid brand is already known in Poland. Of course, there is still plenty of work ahead of us, since Poland is a big and highly industrialised country, so the number of our potential customers is high. Additionally the Polish market is highly saturated. Therefore, we are even more satisfied with every new application.
Speaking about our customers’ impressions from direct contact with our products, they are always very positive. There’s no doubt here – Tecfluid flow and level measurement equipment are made with top quality. No photo, description, or phone conversation will replace this impression. That’s why I think, that customers should have physical contact with the instruments as often, as possible. In any form. As I have already mentioned, customers often have their preferences and opinions, so in some cases it requires some effort to sell an instrument made on the Iberian Peninsula.
However, this effort is worth taking. Sometimes, the sole magic of speaking about Barcelona may work wonders, when it turns out that our customer is a fan of FC Barcelona (unless they are a fan of Real Madrid…), likes the art of Antonio Gaudi, or books of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This can be very helpful. Of course, we’re not being really serious here, although such things are connected with the psychology of sales. Positive associations may be very helpful for our brand. So a penchant for football and art pays off 😉
Which is your preferred Tecfluid product and why?
I guess I have no favourite instrument. For many years our best-selling products were rotameters of 6000, PS, SC250, M21 and the 2000 series. They still sell very well. This is why I like them 😉 I can say that the one that deserves special attention is the SC250 flowmeter, which in my opinion has a very good quality/availability/price ratio and it is useful for a wide range of applications. The DP65 flowmeter has always been a very handy and practical instrument, and recently also the TM44 flowmeters turbine type generate higher turnover.
You are talking about flow products. What about level range?
LT series level indicators equipped with level transmitters, LC series in various designs and ultrasonic LU level transmitter seem to be our favourite level instruments. But guided wave radar LTDR is a versatile and reliable instrument which deserves a bigger volume of sales, so we are doing our best to make it happen.
Which are the Tecfluid products with more demand among your clients?
Basically flowmeters, recently turbine type flowmeters.
What do you appreciate the most about Tecfluid service or/and products?
The first thing that comes to my mind, that is not so obvious, is the atmosphere of cooperation. It is really wonderful. You can feel really friendly attitude of Tecfluid staff, their high degree of engagement in their work, understanding, and willingness to help. It’s very important.
It’s natural that in the situation when we are deeply involved in a certain project, we expect the same from our partners. In this regard Tecfluid meet our expectations in 100%. Some projects require customized solutions – we can also count on the flexibility of Tecfluid in this matter. I’d say that regardless of the complexity and size of the project, we always work out some solution together.
The more obvious issues like the qualifications of sales engineers, speed of communication, quality of customer service, and technical maintenance are flawless.
“The SC250 flowmeter deserves special attention, which in my opinion has a very good quality / availability / price ratio and it is useful for a wide range of applications”
For sure you work with many industry sectors but which would you say is the field which your company is more focused on? Which products are more demanded in this field?
Poland is a country in which, with few exceptions, every branch of industry is present. Of course, some of these branches are more important for our economy and have greater competition, and others have a smaller influence. However, the diversity of the Polish industry and the broad range of potential applications for our products, makes us search for our opportunities. I cannot point at one branch that would be the most important for us.
If I was to list a few that we are focusing on – these would be the sectors that are developing more dynamically in Poland, i.e. water and sewage, energy production and infrastructure, food production, building, or engineering industry. Obviously, branches that are traditionally important to us, which probably have the highest potential with regard to the specificity of our offer, are the petrochemical or chemical industry. Yet, we should remember that such recipients have high requirements, both, with regard to the product itself, and its supplier.
As far, as the requirements regarding the instruments are concerned, it should be noted, that priorities include production safety and continuity (e.g. instruments should have SIL certificates), wireless data transmission, or contactless measurement techniques. I think these issues are important in all developed countries such as Poland.
What would you say is the typology of your customers? What industries do they come from?
On the sectors of industry that I mentioned before as water and sewage, energy sector, food production, engineering industry, chemical industry, pulp and paper industry, many of our direct customers are industrial facilities, production plants… but the largest group are companies connected with industrial production in various ways such as contractors, equipment and industrial solutions suppliers as well as OEM customers.
Do you think there has been any evolution in Tecfluid in the last 10 years? If so, how has it influenced AEA Technique?
First of all I must say, that our cooperation has been very good right from the beginning. It wasn’t difficult, as Tecfluid was a well-organised company already 10 years ago, and we started to understand each other well very fast. The exchange of knowledge and experience was extremely important during this period of time. Of course, minor improvements were necessary during this period, which is natural. But now our cooperation with Tecfluid may be compared to a well adjusted and lubricated machine 😉
Speaking in more detail – the availability of instruments is good, which is probably connected with efficient production management. For example, the SC250 series flowmeter is available within one week or PS series flowmeters are available almost on the next day. Information flow and document circulation work properly.
A few years ago presence in the social media and PR activities became obligatory for every prominent company. In this regard Tecfluid is very skilful – it launched its Linkedin account, among others, and initiated publishing interesting posts. In these years the presence of the company in internet has increased markedly and this is positive for partners from all countries in the world, not only because the brand is better known and help us with sales but also because we are well informed of all the new products and actions that Tecfluid carry out.
Our company wants to be perceived as a reliable partner both, with regard to the support it provides, and the complexity and promptness of our deliveries. The high standards of Tecfluid are very helpful in this regard and strengthen the positive perception of our brand by our customers.
What do you think Tecfluid could be improved with respect to the company and products?
Vast majority of the aspects of Tecfluid’s activity are highly satisfactory. We receive support both, with regard to marketing and sales, trainings are organised, product quality is high, deliveries are made on time, and the post-sales service is also very good. We could only recommend improving the website by putting useful interactive tools, e.g. flow range calculators and videotutorials. I have no other remarks concerning this side of our cooperation.
As far, as the products themselves are concerned, they are well prepared, and I guess their further development is difficult. The scope of the offer might be reconsidered, though. I think that the product portfolio could be developed more dynamically. Market trends should be observed and followed if it is possible. We have been interested in such devices as a contactless radar or thermal mass flowmeters already for last years.
Moreover, some of the existing products could be adjusted to market demand, for example better specification of CU100 or battery-powered electromagnetic flowmeter or IP68 for Flomid. Obviously, I realize that implementation of new products requires high resources, so we keep our expectations rational. Nevertheless, I think that at least some of the solutions I have mentioned, should be included in Tecfluid’s catalogue. It would be good to know the company’s short-term and long-term plans in this field.
Which do you think are the main challenges for the instrumentation industry in Poland?
There are still areas of the Polish economy that require bigger investments than others. For example, the water and sewage system, energy production and transfer, housing and road construction, transport, or logistics. These projects are often co-funded by the EU, so at least in these areas we can expect investments over the next few years. Other branches, like the entire Polish economy, develop with medium yet stable dynamics. Naturally, political decisions may additionally affect them, like the economic and geopolitical situation in Poland and across the world.
At present one of the most important criterias of choice of instruments, if not the main ones, are their reliability and safety. The things we consider just next, include their accuracy, availability, ease of use, and guarantee terms. Only when these requirements are met, we analyze the price of the product and other factors.
Ensuring production continuity and safety is crucial. And we, the suppliers, are expected to provide high quality technical assistance with broad availability, make visits to the field, trials and commissioning, or trainings on the use and maintenance of instruments. The promptness of reaction of technical support and high availability of spare parts are important. Compatibility and communication with other elements of industrial communication network also play an important role.
Generally speaking the requirement of a highly efficient, safe, economical industrial production and high product quality and environmental standards are a challenge to control and measurement instrument suppliers.
Would you share with us any anecdote that happened during these years of business collaboration with Tecfluid?
Of course! I remember that at the distributors’ meeting in Sant Just held in 2014, I think, I was the first distributor to make my speech at 9 a.m. My presentation was almost finished already several days before, but it required finishing touches and background narration. As I am used to getting up early, I decided to wake up a lot earlier on the day of my presentation, have some coffee, and finish my work.
In the evening, according to plan, I set the alarm in my mobile phone. Bad luck that I set the right hour, but on the wrong day! So of course I overslept the next morning and I was woken up by the phone ringing aside my bed and the voice in the receiver: “Mister Michaleskul? Good morning! This is Maribel. It is nine o`clock, and we are waiting for your presentation… Are you coming?” I jumped out of the bed, refreshed myself (I guess…), got dressed (think so…) and within minutes I dashed to the conference room. Really fast.
Do not ask if my presentation was successful…, or do you maybe remember it? If you do, please forget it. Anyway, today, I am still grateful to Maribel, who was the one who called me on that morning. I guess that only her very calm and nice voice prevented me from a heart or panic attack then. So big thanks Maribel! 😉
Part of AEA Technique team during a training at Tecfluid’s facilities
Thank for your kind collaboration Wojciech. Your opinion has always been very important for Tecfluid in order to continue improving its range of services and products. We look forward to count on you and your team as one of our top partners for many, many more years.