This year, once again, the Tube 2018 in Düsseldorf was both a meeting point for the industry and an opportunity to gauge the mood. rff presented itself under the motto "Handeln!* - Our passion". In an interview, Managing Director Michael Allexi talks of the impressions he was able to gather in the course of the week at the fair, whilst also taking a look towards the future.
The Tube 2018 was six weeks ago. Have you had an opportunity to fully evaluate the fair week yet?
Michael Allexi: Day-to-day business soon has you back in its grasp. Nevertheless, I still have vivid memories of many of the conversations that I had at the Tube with customers, potential customers and suppliers. The contacts that have emerged are also promising. I have the impression that our sales staff were able to conduct good talks. Our fair appearance and the "Handeln1*" motto met with a positive response from many visitors.
You mention promising discussions with customers. How do you assess the current developments in your market segment?
Michael Allexi: The year began very promisingly for us and we could already note positive development prior to the fair. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen what influence the current political and global economic developments as a whole will have on the steel market. Generally speaking, it is always important to interpret key signals and trends at an early stage and act accordingly on the market. The Tube is a good indicator of this. Not for nothing is the fair regarded as a mood indicator by all market participants.
The subject of digitalisation was especially prominent this year. Did you notice this, too?
Michael Allexi: Yes, certainly. Many of our customers spoke to us about the comprehensive update of our "My rff" online portal. The additional functions in particular will result in order management and processing becoming even simpler in the future. Today customers specifically ask about digital solutions. In addition, consulting expertise and delivery service continue to be of key relevance. This became evident once again at the Tube.
Could we finish with a concluding summary and assessment for the future?
Michael Allexi: I think that our "Handeln!*" motto is a good fit for the present time. Acknowledging and interpreting the signs of the times at an early stage is one thing. Orientating activities and strategic decisions towards these is another. Targeted actions mean that we are well placed to address the increased requirements of our customers. We are currently continuing the expansion of our vehicle fleet. These measures will serve to further improve our delivery service, meaning we can continue to be a reliable and expert partner to our customers in the future.
Thank you for your time.
*The word "Handeln" has several meanings in German and can be translated as trading, acting an negotiating.