HARTING Technology Group
Read about the different hidden champions amongst our tenants in our series.
Mr Soeren Montag, Managing Director, ASEAN & ANZ, HARTING Technology Group
Could you tell us more about your trade? What kind of products, services or solutions does HARTING offer as well as the type of customers you serve?
HARTING Technology Group is a global leader supplying connectivity solutions for the three main lifelines of industrial technology – data, signals and power – with 14 production sites and 44 sales companies worldwide. Products within our Connectivity & Networks portfolio belong to our global core business. These include industrial heavy-duty connectors, PCB & Device Interface connectors, Industrial Ethernet switches, complete cable assemblies and RFID systems for industrial applications in Machinery & Robotics, Automation, Transportation, PGTD Energy, Medical, Data Centers and Wind. The company also manufactures electronic cash registers for retail use, electromagnetic actuators for automotive and industrial series production, charging technology and cables for electrical vehicles, as well as hardware and software for customers and applications in the automation, robotics and transportation sectors. Currently, we employ almost 6000 employees worldwide with a total revenue of close to EUR 800M.
Congratulations to HARTING on your 75th anniversary this month! Could you tell us why it is important for you as a global company to have a ‘footprint’ in Singapore?
Since our founding in 1945, HARTING has been remained a 100% family owned company. We are present in all major economic regions around the globe in order to ensure close customer proximity and to react fast in case of localization and engineering support for our customers. Singapore and Malaysia have traditionally been the key locations for electronics manufacturing since the 80s. This trend has expanded in the ASEAN region and nowadays, since most countries in the region have established electronics manufacturing hubs and supply chain infrastructure. That was also the reason for HARTING to establish its first office in the 90s in Singapore, mainly to secure local support and supply chain for the Electronic Manufacturing Services companies in Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore is still the ideal hub when it comes to establishing a regional center for ASEAN; topics like legal stability, strategic location, talent management, business friendly environment and forward-looking economic policies still hold true nowadays. Since then, our business has diversified and we have expanded our business focus and organization in the region. Today, we are actively involved in a much broader OEM, EMS and End-User business in ASEAN. We are, for instance, supplying quality connectivity and cabling solutions for rail applications, also for the MRT in Singapore. Our product solutions can be found in baggage handling systems at major ASEAN airports and we also supply complete RFID system solutions to well known manufacturing companies, whether in Automotive, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical etc. HARTING connector and cabling solutions are also widely used in applications for factory automation, robotics, test and measurement, energy and telecommunication equipment, just to name a few.
Where else does your company have ‘footprints’ in ASEAN?
In ASEAN we also have offices and Sales & Customer Service teams in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta. This enables us to be close to our customers, present technical solutions and support the new product design process together with our customers. In addition to our offices we have our own warehouse in Singapore to ensure ASEAN wide supply chain and reliable product distribution. In 2013, we also established our Technical Application Center Asia in Singapore and our Product Application Engineers are supporting our other Asia Pacific teams and projects from here.
In Asia Pacific we have our own subsidiaries in Australia, China, Japan, India and South-Korea. We also operate our main Asia factory in Zhuhai, China.
How do you perceive the future to be for your business (i.e. opportunities, challenges)?
New trends and technologies always create new opportunities and currently our topics and focus range from Smart Manufacturing, Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0 and IIoT.
In a nutshell, more and more individual objects and hardware will communicate with each other, more sensors will be deployed, industrial production will become more intelligent and more data will be generated, analyzed and used to optimize manufacturing and supply chain processes.
HARTING has reacted in multiple ways towards these trends as they stipulate the required connectivity hardware of tomorrow. We just won the German Innovation Award with our new T1 industrial connector for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE). The HARTING Technology Group recognized the potentials of SPE at an early stage and developed an optimal infrastructure solution for all users relying on I4.0 and IIoT. Such are certainly also developments and technologies that we are promoting here in ASEAN.
Tell us more about your development in Singapore (and in the German Centre) and which contacts were the most helpful during the set-up phase?
We have been in Singapore for over 20 years, and a company of our size does not need such setup services and others required to support the establishment of a new company in Singapore. But even for long established companies, the German Center provides an ideal hub for its operation and enables a close exchange of German and Singaporean business networks that include universities, governmental Technology & Research organizations and various associations.
What do you think are the advantages of being in German Centre?
For new companies, clearly the various “touchpoints” that the German Centre provides under one roof are useful, be it the presence of the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC), support services with B2B events and networking opportunities, or having the close exchanges between other German companies and service providers in the German Centre.
Despite HARTING Singapore being one of the established companies in Singapore and in the German Centre, we still enjoy being a tenant here. Especially because of the developed relationships we have with other German companies in the building that enable a great culture of exchange – combining Singapore business & lifestyle culture with German culture. This is a nice contrast and is rather fruitful, allowing us to continuously learn from one another and collaborate on innovative ideas on how to further promote our technical solutions for a broader audience. One example was when a smart manufacturing event & roadshow by 4 German Hidden-Champions in the Automation & Machinery field was hosted here.
Additionally, enjoying an after-work beer and other German delicacies with colleagues and other German Centre tenants occasionally during the B2B events is a nice perk of the business community here.
What advice would you give to other companies who would like to set up their business in the German Centre Singapore?
The German Centre provides enough flexibility for start-ups and long-time established companies alike. For new businesses in Singapore, the already established companies are a great source for advice and general Singapore & ASEAN business related exchange. As usual, building your business network is key and can easily be done in the German Centre.