The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization, especially when it comes to cooperation and communication at Freudenberg, among other companies. What lessons has Freudenberg drawn from the pandemic?
The pandemic has shown us that we still have to improve our global positioning. We have learned how important it is to have highly competent employees in every region of the world. They can make high-quality decisions on a decentralized basis, adapted to particular regional and local circumstances. So we have to build even more specialized and management expertise. We need outstanding know-how and specialized knowledge in every region. Our basic goal is to balance out the proportions of our business in individual regions to a greater degree, with similarly sized contributions to revenue from Europe, America and Asia. At the same time, this helps us shorten our supply chains. The longer they are, the more difficult they are to manage. We want to manufacture selectively for the respective market and the customers there.
In light of the war in Ukraine, how will Freudenberg conduct business in Russia in the future?
Due to the war, we have decided to pull out of the Russian market. We will terminate our business activities there in an orderly process and in accordance with legal requirements.
How will Freudenberg shape its business in China?
We are currently reevaluating our activities in China. Amid a period of powerful economic upheaval around the world, we are seeing a competition between the United States, China and Europe. This raises the question: Is China a partner, opponent or competitor? Will our work with China be cooperative or confrontational in the future? We are currently evaluating trends in China with our Dragonfly project and the effect they have on our activities there. One thing is already certain: The business environment for Western companies in China won’t be any less complicated in coming years.
This interview was conducted by Michael Scheuer, Head of Corporate Communications, Freudenberg & Co. KG.