As the new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dr Stefan Binnewies coordinates Krone’s Commercial Vehicles devision on the Executive Board of the holding company, he talks about how he intends to perform this new role and what goals he has set himself.
You joined the Management Board of Krone Holding as COO in October 2019. How have you experienced your time with the company so far? I feel very well. The strong family background, great products and the really good team made it easy for me to arrive here and to quickly settle into my new tasks.
Which experiences that you have gained in your career will you use to make the company successful? I have worked in the field of intralogistics for leading forklift manufacturers for the past 15 years. One thing I can say with certainty is that these are all top companies, but they have had to develop over the last five years because the market has changed very dynamically. Today, there is no longer a pure forklift manufacturer among the TOP 3 in the market! Jungheinrich, for example, has developed into a system provider for intralogistics - this was a necessity for the company. With Dematic, KION has acquired the market leader for automatic intralogistics solutions. And all this happened in less than ten years. I learned that good products are always essential and can be a solid basis for future developments. But you still have to remain flexible and develop yourself as a company always focused on customer benefit.
What is Krone’s strategic direction for the future? As a result of Corona, we will have to be prepared for the next three years that we may have to reduce production and then ramp up again quickly. Apart from that, we will expand service and digitization much more than it is today.
ABOUT STEFAN BINNEWIES
Dr. Stefan Binnewies, born in 1971, has been Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Krone Holding since autumn 2019. He is responsible for the Commercial Vehicles division as well as the Group divisions of strategic purchasing, investments, human resources and legal affairs. Prior to this, Dr Binnewies worked for Jungheinrich AG for nine years, most recently as Managing Director of Jungheinrich Logistics Systems.
What do you believe Krone’s key strengths to be? In my opinion, Krone is above all, a very strong brand which has a high level of customer loyalty. The “Krone Way” makes all the difference: being closer to the customer, reliably keeping promises and accepting challenges. This is a good basis for moving into the future together with customers and developing new business models. Because we have an excellent position in each of the markets in which we operate, we can actively shape them.
Aren’t start-ups much faster and likely to overtake established companies? No, definitely not. A start-up often has to put all its eggs in one basket, is very specialised – we are not. And we have a big asset: Our trailer is the starting point for digitization and we will develop new business models based on it. In Germany alone, 90,000 Krone trailers were on the road last year. Our strong position in the market gives us the power to shape the digitalization of logistics. It’s an evolution: mankind has also not walked upright at the push of a button. It is a matter of using one's own qualities and resources and to continuously develop them with the customer. This will be Krone’s strength. But we must also be prepared and learn to cooperate with start-ups, to see them as partners.
How do you want to personally shape your work? In essence, it is about taking people on our journey. I would like to think with the entire Krone team about what a trailer supplier of the future could look like. I want to convey the courage and willingness to break new ground and try things. In my opinion, a positive attitude can generate the best ideas. Because even in the age of digitalisation, it is still people who are creative and implement ideas successfully.