Belgium-based Reynaers is a leading European specialist in the development and marketing of innovative and sustainable aluminium solution for windows, doors, curtain walls, sliding systems. They are one of the leading players among main producers of aluminium systems on the markets they are present. On some markets they are a market leader in several product areas and on some others they want always be in the top three. The construction of the façade solutions for the Marriott Hotel Edition in Iceland was the first major joint project with our company, which has since been followed by several collaborations. Sustainability, innovation and tailor-made solutions are the key pillars of their specific corporate culture. We discussed key directions and opportunities for development with Andrey Klymenko, General Manager for Central and Eastern Europe at Reynaers Aluminium.
What opportunities do Reynaers see in the Hungarian door and window market; why did they consider it important to reopen their office in Budapest in 2018?
Reynaers is a family-run global company; we are present in all major markets and Europe is of paramount importance to us. We are market leaders in our continent in the field of certain aluminium doors and windows, but we are at least the second or third most important player in the construction world everywhere. Our competitiveness is due to our wide and constantly developed product range but first of all because of good product price to value ratio. The Hungarian market is also important to us due to its size and opportunities; investment and real estate development activities are taking place there, so it became an obvious need to be present again with a permanent team, office and services. These market conditions are one of the cornerstones of our company's growth. Fortunately, our activity in Hungary is showing rapid and continuous growth, which of course requires a very seriously, dynamic strategic and customer-oriented activity on this market.
As a leader, how do you see the work of the Hungarian team?
I was recently in Budapest; I had several meetings with customers and market players, as keeping in contact is extremely important at our company. During that visit customers underline that service and support from our local team in the Budapest office are excellent. The basis of our company's operating philosophy is that locals work in the daily processes everywhere; they know the given market from the inside, and can speak to those who turn to us in their mother tongue. Although we think globally, we always give priority to local aspects and local needs. I have found on several occasions that we are moving in an outstanding, good direction regarding the knowledge and attitude of the Hungarian team.
They have several joint projects with KAV, so they know the company. What advice would you give us to continue to maintain our priority in the Hungarian residential aluminium doors and windows market?
We have the same goal, to continue growth through innovation; this is the only way to build a competitive company. Whenever we meet Károly, the CEO of KAV, we always talk about growth potentials and viability criteria. I have mentioned to him several times that I see one development path in embarking on larger home projects, modelled on their Icelandic acid test. They need to be able to surpass their previous results. This requires constant strategic and financial foresight and sometimes goes beyond their previous ideas. During the work of our foreign project that I mentioned, the Marriott Hotel Edition in Reykjavik, I was also surprised to see how dominant growth efforts are at KAV and how quickly they can respond to any new kind of task. In the exclusive family-home market, they already operate on the basis of exemplary internal standards, but let’s be honest this is a fairly unpredictable business area. A lot depends on the developers, who design their own living environment, have high demands and like to have a deep insight into the processes, which often slows the work down significantly. So in this market it is very difficult to plan ahead; it requires a lot of flexibility from in-house and subcontracting professionals. I still believe that KAV should be open towards greater projects, as there is also a segment in that world where they can capitalise on their special attitudes and working methods. It would be more predictable and foreseeable, and could be a stimulating pillar of growth for the company, while, of course, retaining the exclusive family-home focus. Reynaers owns complete product range, that are specifically suited for residential developments, but we are also open to meeting individual needs, so this may also be a kind of potential connectivity.
How would you characterize Reynaers’ current product structure?
Innovation, continuous renewal is one of the defining elements of our company philosophy, therefore we have a large team working on following trends and on product development, and we invest heavily in research and development. This way we are constantly updating our products and designing new solutions. Customers, designers and architects can keep track of these innovations on our website. Because of our wide and innovative solutions’ offer and unique product price to value ratio we are competitive and we want to remain that way. We constantly need new things; we see our future in developments. We are among trendsetters. Our goal is to set the trends in the aluminium systems for doors, windows and curtain walls market.
If you have already mentioned research and development, what do you think about the ongoing developments in KAV?
Knowing the needs of our customers, I think that the specialists at KAV have started in a very good direction in the field of their own developments, trying to find feasible and attractive solutions for real needs. It is also important to mention that there are many times when changes are made to our products that respond to the unique needs of their customers.
Having already mentioned this, how can Reynaers support KAV in its individual development efforts?
This way of working method requires a kind of “customer intimacy”. They therefore have to be very familiar with the market or individual needs in order to really find the most relevant solution. We are also in close contact with our customers; which is another similarity in our companies. I can give maximum support to directions where standard products are combined in an innovative way, and KAV has a very talented team working on this, and this kind of thinking is apparently one of the keys to their competitiveness. It is worth knowing that our product range is also suitable for individual applications, since, unlike our competitors, we think about the development of products in really complex system structures, such as the compatibility and separability of component groups. Our development team often has a similar attitude to individual customer needs as KAV. I would highlight our new second-generation Hi-Finity frameless sliding door system, which offers architects and designers plenty of options, with unique size limits, technical solutions, motorization and increased application freedom. KAV also uses a large number of our Hi-Finity products with a unique application mode; they have implemented some serious works.
Have you been experiencing significant changes in the market lately?
The coronavirus epidemic, however, has brought some changes in the predicted trends. It increasingly seems that the future belongs to systems that offer contactless solutions, so motorization will be a top priority for most investments. Innovations are also expected in the field of handles, which also guarantee contactlessness and a virus-free surface. I believe that who follows what trends depends on personality and investment; there are those who want huge frameless sliding doors, for others the traditional look or just an innovative facade solution is important. We have to respond to all kinds of needs. Our research and development team is also working on a number of fresh ideas in response to the changed needs due to the current situation, and exciting products can be expected.