An Interview with
President, Asia Pacific
Dometic is a global market leader in branded solutions for mobile living in the areas of Food & Beverage, Climate, Power & Control, Safety & Security and Hygiene & Sanitation. Dometic operates in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, providing products for use in recreational vehicles, trucks and premium cars, pleasure and workboats, and for a variety of other uses. Dometic offer products and solutions that enrich people's experiences away from home. Our motivation is to create smart and reliable products with outstanding design. We operate 27 manufacturing sites in twelve countries and sell our products in approx. 100 countries. We are headquartered in Solna, Sweden.
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16 November 2020
Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?
I have a finance background, worked in US for a number of years before returning to Asia. I have worked and lived in China for 18 years before moving to Hong Kong in 2016 to join Dometic. I have over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing as well as in the operation (namely manufacturing and sourcing). I've also had regional roles and worked in global capacity for many years before Dometic.
I see in Dometic the type of companies that are on extremely fast pace, and such growth not only comes from the market but also comes from reinvent themselves by shaping the industry and constantly looking for ways to redefine our battle border. Many companies talk about growth, but Dometic means it... they put money and resources behind the strategy. Just take a look at the track record Dometic has on acquisitions.
What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
I can't prioritize the importance among Mission, Vision and Core values. They are equally important. As a employee, you want to work for a company building for the long term, with a Mission you can identify with, and abiding by the Core Values we share together when conducting businesses. As a leader, Mission and Vision are the start of the strategy. Without these, strategy is often wobbling, direction is changing frequently. Mission and Vision not only offer a state where the company inspires to be, I often regard them as a binding agent that holds the team together --- this is how we will work toward a COMMON GOAL.
Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?
We provide products and solutions for mobile living in the areas of Food & Beverage, Climate, Power & Control, Safety & Security and Hygiene & Sanitation, for a wide range of applications like recreational vehicles (e.g. caravan), yacht, commercial and work boats, passenger vehicles and consumer outdoor. To name a few product examples in Food & Beverage, refrigerators and Active/Passive Coolers, winecellars, minibars, and cooking range; in Climate Control, air conditioners, heaters, awnings, windows and doors. Others are like steering system, portable batteries, generators, camera, etc.
Some products need to be installed before reaching the consumers by the OEs, some products are sold in the aftermarket retail stores both online and offline.
How has the industry been changing in recent years?
There is no company like Dometic - we participates in many industries. If I just take the two divisions as an example, Recreation Vehicles and Marine, there han't been a major shift in competition or end user dynamics. Like all other industries, they go thru cycles. In 2019 we experienced a slow down in RV but a good growth in Marine. Compared to other players in the industries, we were able to maintain our growth (whether it is top line or bottom line) thru new products, new categories, and rigorous cost reductions.
2020 brought both crisis AND opportunities for Dometic. From spring going into April and May, like all other companies, we were adversely impacted by COVID. Social distancing, lockdowns, economic outlook uncertainty etc. have a major influence on our end users and their shopping behavior. During that period, theme of the day was controlling costs and cash. But towards the end of 2nd quarter, Staycation becomes a new way of vacation and demand for our products quickly surged. Theme of the day became 'how can I ship faster?'. These are two polarized developments on the opposite ends, in a year. After seeing such a drastic development, it makes you rethink your supply chain, your market participation, and speed to adapt.
What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?
Success of Dometic has been built on product, quality and customer relationship. Compared to many of our competition, we also have local sales and marketing offices to support our distributors, customers and service our end-users for their needs.
There are millions of people around the world who use Dometic products --- for some, everyday even! They all have one thing in common. They're going somewhere - whether he/she is an RV user, a boat owner, a truck driver or just an outdoor enthusiast. Our job is to meet their essential needs on the journey. Like cooking, keeping food fresh, taking care of personal hygiene and maintaining a pleasant temperature for the living surroundings. By providing these products or solutions, they are able to explore more, see more, and stay away longer. We call it Mobile Living Made Easy. Enjoy the journey!
What does the future hold for your company?
I'd like to quote these phrases from our CEO: “I saw two things that need to change in Dometic. The first was that our very high market shares hinder our growth and that the business must therefore be broadened. In addition,... in a market like ours that is both seasonal and cyclical, it is not efficient to do everything by yourself". The challenging RV market in 2019 and COVID in 2020 proved the importance of building a well-diversified company and reducing dependence on one vertical end market.
The pickup in our order book which we are experiencing today is not entirely because the market is catching up. I do believe to some extend it is the growth of underlying demand driven by new ways of living. Staycation brought an opportunity which allow us to broaden Mobile Living scope. To test some of the new concepts, we launched a test campaign in Australia and we received an overwhelming result - consumer online engagement has grown by a few times (not percentage), we are able to reach customers and end users we weren't able to reach before, and because of the very positive response from the market we are able to get our employees fully engaged, committed and excited for the future.
Now as we start to see the first major deliveries of that work and the result, we believe we have some really exciting years ahead of us. Notwithstanding the market potential, we are mindful that the growth will require strong focus on our product development, efficient and effective sourcing capability and supply chain while executing on new M&A opportunities.