Small, yet global

Tool manufacturer mibostahl wins new clients following insolvency.

Michael Knauer

GEVELSBERG. The strong position held by the German automotive industry is not just down to the success of world-wide brands like Daimler and Bosch, but is a result of the clever business strategies of numerous smaller companies.

A good example is the tool manufacturer mibostahl in Gevelsberg, Germany. Following in the wake of insolvency, which was concluded in January of this year, the company with its staff of around 20 and a turnover of more than one million euros has managed to turn the tide by landing several important new clients in the recent past, among them Hyundai. The turnaround was made possible on the basis of close contacts with clients and the development of highly specialised tools.

“Multi-media technology, passenger protection and other developments have resulted in increasingly large cable harnesses in cars with more and more sophisticated housing plug connections. That is exactly where we – as a highly flexible developer and manufacturer of extraction tools – come into play,” says CEO and owner Axel Giershausen on his business strategy. mibostahl is also currently expanding sales efforts in North America, Russia, India, and Turkey. The comparatively small business has found surprisingly strong resonance in North Africa, where 18 of its total of 180 customers are based.

The mibostahl example shows that smaller suppliers can have good opportunities for growth on the global market, provided they recognise their own strengths. That, at least, was the result of a recent study entitled “Trend Monitor 2012” by MBtech Consult. Automotive suppliers in particular still have a couple of aces up their sleeves when it comes to added value in B2B sales, stresses Marc Bayer, Director at MBtech: “Well-founded market knowledge and customer proximity can help minimise strategic mistakes.” At the same time, however, Bayer warns about relying on differentiation on the basis of innovation and quality alone: “Local buyers in the BRIC countries still work on the premise ‘good enough’.” Competitive pricing will therefore continue to grow in importance in global business.

Report in “Automobilwoche” (Edition 21) dated 1 October 2012, available for download