Tradition, innovation and leadership in global markets

Interviews |
By Andre Rousselot

eeNews Europe has obtained a Q&A interview with David Phillips, the international sales director of circular connector specialist Franz Binder GmbH, which trades as binder.

Phillips positions the binder group as a family business with tradition and strong values. At the same time, he highlights its innovative strength and resilience – and verbalizes the global claim of the German binder brand.

eeNews Europe: Pandemic, supplier issues, and energy crisis – the year 2022 is a difficult one for the entire industry. How is your company doing at the moment?

David Phillips: The binder group is an economically sound and very robust company. We consistently focus on the quality of our products and have our target markets firmly in sight. This enables us to perform well even in difficult years such as this one. Order bookings in the first half of the year were extraordinary, and the month of March was the strongest in terms of sales in our company’s history. Demand for connectors continues unabated, so we remain well on target.

eeNews Europe: So quality is a key to success for binder. What other factors are important to you?

David Phillips: Of course, our technologies and products play a major role here. But there are other, decisive factors that make binder a unique and successful company. As a family business, we see more than numbers and data; for us, the people at binder are the main focus. Their passion, commitment and skills are the true foundation of our success. It’s a personal concern of the management team to establish a corporate culture characterized by respect and appreciation, in which our employees can develop. Communication at an equal level, across all corporate hierarchies, must not be underestimated. binder is characterized by flat hierarchies and extremely efficient decision-making processes. This allows us to react quickly, competently and effectively to the dynamics of the markets.

eeNews Europe: And from a technological perspective?

David Phillips: Our products are tailored to the needs of very demanding fields of application. This means that we follow, analyse, and evaluate technical progress in future markets such as factory and process automation, medical technology, robotics, or communications very carefully. We then consistently align our product development with the technological requirements of these markets – but still always keep an eye on the individual needs of our customers. Another important point: within the binder group, we can rely on very comprehensive know-how and a wide variety of technical competencies, ranging from flexible printed electronics through sensors and functionalized textiles to individually designed, customized solutions. In terms of technology, the binder ITZ, our innovation and technology center, is instrumental. And: the binder group is resilient thanks to an extraordinary level of vertical integration, which makes us highly independent of uncertain supplier markets.

eeNews Europe: Besides automation technology, you mentioned further fields of application for binder products. Which are your most important target markets?

David Phillips: These are indeed wide-ranging and all very demanding. Traditionally, of course, we are very well established in the automation of plants and processes, from energy technology to food processing. In metrology and controls, too, binder products are among the indispensable, essential basic components. And in addition to the application areas already mentioned, we focus on lighting technology, heavy industrial machinery, safety engineering, communications technology, and transportation. In all these markets, we analyze product requirements, such as standards or special environmental conditions, monitor trends, and identify the respective growth potential. All our key products are precisely engineered for these markets and optimized for their particular application conditions. This enables us to ensure that our development is always strictly in line with the requirements of our markets.

eeNews Europe: You talked about trends and growth. What specifically do you have in mind?

David Phillips: Industrial IoT is driving innovation in all industries. The central focus is on intelligent network nodes, such as sensors, actuators, or controllers, the number of which is growing rapidly. They all depend – of course – on high-performance, high-quality, but also economical connectivity solutions. Many of binder’s components, such as our M8 or M12 products, are part of the industry’s basic equipment here thanks to our quality standards. However, we keep a very close eye on progress and also on the specific needs of our customers. For example, we early recognized the need for Single-Pair Ethernet as a particularly sustainable data interface in the automation field and will soon be able to offer dedicated products here. Another example is our award-winning NCC technology. The innovative connectors offer industry-relevant protection even when unmated, and this means a decisive practical advantage in medical technology, but also for measuring tasks or outdoor signage applications.

eeNews Europe: binder is a traditional German family business, and your core business takes place in Germany. Is that still appropriate for today?

David Phillips: The tradition and the values of a family business are among our most important strengths. We are very aware of this. At the same time, our goal is to develop the binder group into a global player in the field of connectors. But this is not a contradiction. Rather, we are distinguished by our ability to combine traditional values, innovation, and an international footprint. It is this threefold identity, above all, that gives binder a unique position in the competitive arena. So we are naturally thinking beyond the German market and have restructured our sales organization in 2022. With my new role, we now have an experienced international manager at the helm who will be able to perfectly implement our new global strategy and drive it forward. I’m now responsible for our nine international sales offices and, together with the international sales team, will consistently expand our worldwide reach.

eeNews Europe: What are the key elements of the global strategy?

David Phillips: In the last 15 years binder has expanded its global presence with operations world-wide and these have been successful with a combination of local strategies and entrepreneurial leadership. Now with a global sales strategy we are focused on driving sales to the next level, sharing best practice, ensuring we have the right organization, business systems and people in key positions. Step-by-step, we will instigate plans to target growing geographical opportunities with direct sales activities and with regional partners. With a clear focus on growth markets for traditional products, new developments and added value, we will initiate global sales and marketing campaigns.

eeNews Europe: Finally, how do you see your company prepared for the future?

David Phillips: We are following the current political and economic developments in Europe and the world, and of course they give me cause for concern. But we as the binder group are well prepared to keep supplying the customers in our key markets in a reliable manner. We greatly appreciate the trust our customers place in the innovative strength of the binder brand and in the binder group as a trusted partner. At the binder group we are working with all our might to meet our customers’ demanding expectations.

David Phillips has been the managing director of binder UK since it was established in 2009. As international sales director, he has been responsible for the nine sales offices of the binder group worldwide since the beginning of 2022. An experienced sales and marketing professional of 30 years he’s spent the last 20 years in the connector industry. Prior to binder he was the sales director for an independent distributor.

binder, headquartered in Neckarsulm, Germany, is a family-owned company shaped by traditional values and one of the leading specialists for circular connectors. The binder group includes the binder headquarters, nine sales offices, seven production sites, two system service providers as well as an innovation and technology center. The company works with distribution partners on six continents and employs around 2,000 people worldwide. In addition to Germany, the binder sites are located in Austria, China, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.

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