First Sensor AG
About: Martin Schefter - CEO
Under his watch, First Sensor AG embarked on a healthy growth trajectory by pursuing a consistent strategy. Today, the company concentrates on the growth markets Industrial, Medical and Mobility via its three business units. The global business was systematically expanded, central processes were optimized, and the productivity was noticeably enhanced.
A year as the CEO of First Sensor AG: how does it feel like Mr. Martin Schefter?
Time flies and I already feel outmost attached to the company and the great and motivated staff at First Sensor. In the first year we have already reached some major milestones in further developing our company towards an integrated and high-end international technology company. Part of which was an organizational restructuring of the company into four clear business units: Industrial, Medical, Mobility and Electronic Engineering and Manufacturing. The business units represent all of First Sensor’s operational activities and have fostered our external recognition as experts in these fields by customers in the relevant market.
What makes First Sensor challenging from the other companies that you have worked with, in the past?
First Sensor has a high potential to become a market leader in developing and manufacturing high-end sensors and sensor solutions worldwide. The sensor market is growing at a fast pace, experts forecast double digit growth rates over the next five to seven years. At First Sensor we have the technological know-how and a highly skilled and motivated work-force to actively participate from this market growth. We want to set standards in the sensor market regarding technology and quality as well as in customized solutions and services. We want to be among the Top 5 players in each of our industries Industrial, Medicine, Mobility and Electronic Engineering within the next five years. Having the opportunity to lead and accompany First Sensor alongside this ambitious and challenging way is one of the most exciting and interesting tasks I can think of as a CEO.
Mr.Giering has been in this position for 14 years. How did his guidance help you?
Mr. Giering brought First Sensor to the stock exchange in 1999 and did a great job developing the company into international technology enterprise with premises and sales offices all over the world. He introduced me into the company and taught me a lot about the company´s history and about the people working for First Sensor. He has set the foundation for the prosperous future growth of the company.
During his departure, Mr.Giering mentioned that First Sensor needs a CEO who can shift the emphasis to different things than what he has done and also enjoy it. Have you enjoyed this tenure and did you change anything with the same regard?
He was absolutely right. First Sensor today is a totally different company then it was 20 years ago when Mr. Giering entered the company. Over the last couple of years First Sensor has taken over several smaller but highly interesting and competitive companies alongside its value chain. Today therefore the company can produce almost completely in-house and covers the total value-added chain from component to system level. Today’s challenge is to become one fully integrated company and to use the full potential of the company in order to participate from a fast growing market and to become a highly competitive and profitable leading international company for sensors and sensor solutions to the goodwill of customers, employees and investors. It is my task to make this change happen and I am enjoying it very much.
How did you steer First Sensor amidst the recession and change in market trends?
Our company strategy is driven by the markets and customers we serve. Our success is based on long lasting relationships with customers and suppliers. Being steadily in contact with both sides makes us flexible and strong. Furthermore we serve different industries such as medical, industrial, mobility and E2MS which makes us more independent from cyclical fluctuations in one of the sectors itself. Part of our business strategy is also to control our dependence on single suppliers and customers.
What is the next phase of development plan you have for First Sensor?
I already mentioned the new company structure. At the moment we clarify processes and get customers and employees informed and involved. Additionally, we steadily improve our products and services. We are always looking for new ideas, searching for new technologies and/or materials for the sensor solution our customer’s needs.
What is your take on Automation industry and its future?
One of the mega trends in the sensor market are so called smart sensor systems. These smart sensor systems will be the heart of future intelligent systems such as high-end driver assistance systems or even automated guided cars. The specifications for these smart sensors are very demanding, they need to be very small and at the same time require enough energy to support and operate all system components as well as the sensor itself. Our R&D department is – among else - constantly working on the development and improvement of advanced smart sensor systems. We are proud that today First Sensor sensors and sensor solutions are already part of the driving assistant systems of some of the most renowned German automotive manufacturers.
Online marketing, SEO and Content marketing have become the most reliable trends today. As a business development strategist, can you brief us about their importance in the current market and their role in the growth of a company?
Online marketing is almost the most important channel for our communication with engineers, scientists and clients in general besides the face-to-face communication. Using the internet is the easiest and fastest way to get up-to-date information to our target groups. New programs and online services enable us to approach customers with customized and relevant information only; it reduces white noise and information overkill.
What is your opinion about B2B marketing?
It is as much important as B2C Marketing. If your products are excellent but no one knows that you exist you won’t succeed. It is our job to offer information to our potential customer base – to tell them who we are and what we do and why they should choose First Sensor as a supplier.
What was your experience on our portal? Do you see it as a medium to connect globally to all your customers?
I think there is no portal in the world that will reach all of our potential and existing customers. However, we are very satisfied with the coverage of your portal in Asia, which is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide and therefore of special interest to us.