The history of the Belgian Reynaers is more than half a century old. The company is specialized on the sustainable aluminum doors and windows solutions and is partnering with KAV in Hungary. We were talking about the joint projects with Zoltán Nagy, the leader of the Hungarian Reynaers subsidiary.
One of the latest joint project between KAV and Reynaers is the doors and windows solution for the Marriott hotel, located in Iceland. How special was this project?
That was the first large project, made together with KAV, and we both learned a lot from it. The fact, that it could be realized, was the result of serious international cooperation and exceptional teamwork. Beside the cooperation in Hungary, the active participation of the Czech and Polish colleagues, the engineering support received from our Belgian headquarters, and the openness from the Icelandic partners played an important role as well. The realization was preceded by a long preparatory work, as the negotiations started last summer. It was very interesting to see the significant cultural differences between Hungary and Iceland, how these differences culminate, how to communicate it towards each other and how to get to a common denominator and speak the common language eventually.
As far as I know, special profiles had to be produced as well for this project. What is it like, working together with a partner who approaches the structure with creativity?
Right, the realization was special also from this perspective. There were not only standard system elements involved, but special profiles as well, developed for this project. Our Belgian headquarters, the Icelandic partners and KAV was involved as well in the creation process. KAV, in contrast to their competitors, was not thinking in classical contract manufacturing. In other words, they didn’t only think to buy the material form us, manufacture it and deliver it in a “robotic” manner, but they examined the complete project, and they were looking for solutions, and provided extra services and added value for the Icelandic customer. In my opinion, this meant a lot for the Icelandics, and it was nice to see how the Hungarian colleagues relate to challenges. It was interesting to experience, that they don’t only want to execute the orders without thinking, but they really try to understand the requirements of the customer and create an appropriate solution accordingly.
What is current form of presence for Reynaers in Hungary and how is the relationship with KAV?
Reynaers is a Belgian multinational company with more than 50 years of history. The global revenue reaches roughly 540 MEUR, and headcount is over 2200. However, we are new in Hungary. The decision to establish our market presence here was taken in the beginning of last year. We started from scratch, we rented an office, hired people and started to establish our customer base. KAV plays an important role in this process, as they were open towards us from the very beginning, and I think the results are already tangible. Currently they are our largest customer and there is continuous cooperation between the two companies, that we plan to further develop.
Is the reason of the company’s appearance, that there is increasing demand for the high quality doors and windows?
Although I have only a bit more than a year of experience in the doors and windows market, I can see that there is a market segment that is heading to the demanding and high quality structures. If we are talking about high quality and complex doors and windows systems, there are three companies, including us, that represents the top tier. While shaping our product range, we always focus on the energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
Beside that, what other strengths does the company have, and which are the directions of development?
We are continuously monitoring the market, not only in Hungary, but naturally in the other countries as well. The demand from various markets is collected in our Belgian development center, where it is examined, and development goes into that direction, that has potential market. Beside top quality, the strength of our company is customer centricity and flexibility. Primarily we are focusing on our customers and on their needs, and we strive to meet their expectations with a very short reaction time. So, beside the high quality of the product we must emphasize the high quality of the customer service, and that is one of the keys to our success.
Is this maybe the reason that the cooperation with KAV is so seamless?
I think so. The fact, that our way of thinking and our philosophy is similar, helps a lot to easily and rapidly understand each other. By the way, I think KAV is one of those companies that have a very concrete and explicit vision. They have a notion in which direction they want to develop their company, where they want to see themselves in the coming years, and they work systematically to get there. This is exceptionally important, and the work invested so far is clearly visible already on the position of the company. I honestly hope, that we’ll take part in the not yet public product developments of KAV. Based on market rumors, some serious things are about to come.
If we look at the quality doors and windows, what are the development directions in the market?
Basically, I would split the directions. KAV is focusing on a market segment, where extreme sizes matter. This segment wants the largest possible windows and sliding doors with the slimmest possible frame, with motorized solutions or controlled by the building automation system. This is a visible architectural trend in our continent, the luxury apartments are heading in this direction. However, this is only one segment of the market. The other segment is the public and commercial buildings, like office buildings, where more standard aluminum doors and windows are required. The development in this segment doesn’t focus on the sizes, but on the rapid manufacturing and a healthy price-value ratio, naturally with maintaining the high quality of the product. It is also important to support the fabricator how to produce these systems as fast and as easy as possible.
One of the special products of your company is the floor to ceiling, frameless sliding door that runs throughout the façade. Could you tell a few words about this?
Hi-Finity, the frameless sliding door of Reynaers is really a specialty. There is a huge demand for this product in the luxury apartment market. But on the other hand this is a unique product, due to the high level of professional knowledge it requires for manufacturing, especially in case of the motorized or automated versions. In other words, it requires training and practice in order to achieve a top quality, that is expected by everyone.
How to transfer this kind of knowledge?
Honestly speaking, the technical knowledge, how to produce and to install these systems can be trained. We have special trainings, that we can deliver either in our training center or in the workshop of our partner. In the latter case, one of our trainer will demonstrate the production with the partner’s tools and equipment and help when necessary. In my opinion a fabricator has to be prepared both with theoretical knowledge, infrastructure and innovative mindset in order to be capable to do this. Beside this, it is utmost important to be able to communicate the advantages and to sell the system, and KAV is very good at this. They sense the needs of the premium customers very well, and they can introduce the benefits of the product. Furthermore what is very important, they allocate significant resources not only for manufacturing but also for aftersales services.
Since we started this conversation with cultural differences, I would like to hear about the differences between the Belgian and Hungarian mindset. In which areas are they ahead of us?
I have limited information about the Belgian doors and windows market, but I can tell you that they are more advanced in the automation of production. The Belgian manpower is way more expensive than here, therefore it is important for the fabricators to optimize the production process, thus minimizing labour time and losses. They reach this through automation. Reynaers provides various systems and software that on the one hand help to plan and organize the production, on the other hand continuously monitor the effectiveness of the production. As I see it, this is in its early stage in Hungary, however there are more and more automated manufacturing machines. But these CNC machines are mainly working as standalone machining centers, they are not integrated into a complex production management system. I think this is the next step, that the Hungarian fabricators will have to make. The price of the domestic manpower is increasing, so there is an increasing pressure to go this way.