Sebastian Schmieade, Viktor Riabinin,
Regional manager Director of the department
company Hebenstreit on flour and confectionary
in Russia equipment of the company
Not only wafers:
Hebenstreit consolidates positions in Russia
Branch exhibition affords a perfect opportunity to become more familiar with the key players in the market. At the “Agroprodmash” exhibition we had a conversation with the representatives of the Hebenstreit Co. (Germany) – one of the global leaders in the manufacturing of the equipment designed for the production of wafers & wafer-based confectioneries. Sebastian Shmiade, the Hebenstreit Regional manager for operations with Russia & Victor Ryabinin, Director of the Department of equipment for flour & confectionery products report on the development of this business in Russia, on the company plans for the nearest future.
– The Hebenstreit Company was set up at the end of the XIX century. What was the process of the company development & how were relations with Russia initiated?
S.Sh.: Yes, actually our company was established in 1898 in the east of Germany – in the town of Radeboil not far from Drezden. At that time the company was named as Goehring & Hebenstrеit. After the Second World War the company was nationalized as were practically all privately owned companies in Eastern Germany. After falling within jurisdiction of the GDR government Hebenstreit changed its status & was transformed into the Rapido, a nationalized enterprise which had become the key producer & supplier of the wafer equipment for the USSR & Eastern Europe factories. Rapido had delivered about one and a half thousand production lines to the USSR.
By that time the former owners of the company had moved to Western Germany; in 1950 a son of one the company founders had restored the enterprise under the former name in Francfurt-on-Meine. Due to the impeccable reputation Hebenstrеit once again became one of the leading suppliers of lines for wafer production marketing its products all over the world. After the unification of Germany two companies had merged and at present these are two production facilities of the Hebenstreit which regained its historical name in 2009. Thus, relationships with Russia are deeply rooted in history.
– Do you have your own representation in Russia or do you operate via distributors?
V.R.: The Hebenstreit Company in Russia is represented by the Anton Ohlert Company for which I work. We are not engaged in commercial activities but perform exclusively representative functions: find potential customers, explain to them what they are in need of,
prepare contracts & monitor the complete process of delivery. We also ensure the required service: in case of any questions on the part of the customers we get in touch with them and, if needed, we invite experts from Germany. We are able to settle certain issues remotely proceeding from our extensive experience gained in operation with such equipment.
– Please, tell us about the Hebenstreit megaprojects in Russia
V.R.: Most likely, one of the best-known projects includes production lines at the “Kolomensky” bakery & confectionery plant in Moscow. Five big Hebenstreit lines are installed there. The first of these lines is already 20 years old. Hebenstreit lines were also delivered in Moscow to “Rot Front” & “Bolshevik”, the former Moscow factory. The largest, for today, wafer line is located in Bryansk at the “Bryanconfi” factory. Two lines are installed at this factory, one of which is equipped with two ovens. The confectionary in Saratov & bread factory Nr.4 in Penza are equipped with three our lines each. A small Hebenstreit line is in operation in the town of Kimry, Tver region. As you can see, the Hebenstreit equipment can be found across Russia, in big cities & very small towns. Relatively recently we have implemented an exciting project in Krasnodar – its distinctive feature is the oven which is fired by liquefied gas from gas bottles. Our line for the production of wafers in chocolate bar is running in Perm. The Hebenstreit equipment is used not only for the production of sweet wafers. “Elizaveta” Co. in Smolensk & “Molodets” Co. in Rostov-on-Don are equipped with several big lines for the production of wafer bread.
S.Sh.: Our equipment can be found at the leaders of the global production of confectioneries, e.g. at KitKat factories, Nestle. I’d like to emphasize that Hebenstreit means not just wafer
production lines, it’s much more. For instance, a subdivision specializing in the production of the equipment for extrusion functions within our company for nearly 40 years and we sell this equipment worldwide. Extrusion enables to easily modify the shape of confectioneries. Therefore, lately we take note of the increasing interest towards this type of equipment including industrial extruders for confectionaries.
– What are your customers more interested in: in traditional solutions or in innovations?
S.Sh: Of course, our regular clients take interest in innovations. However, any innovative solutions always involve risk and the vast majority of our potential customers, which is demonstrated even by the visitors of the stand at the exhibition, wish to see something already proven & recognized on the market. Clients always collate new types of the equipment with their production potentialities: with what they can really produce & sell. Therefore, in the course of the development of new types of equipment we always focus on the customer needs: our customers inform us about their production planned to be brought to the market in the nearest future. I am sure that each manufacturer of the equipment must take an interest in the information of this kind. E.g. we have a company engaged in the production of nuts in chocolate which constantly exchanges data on the demand dynamics with us. We are always happy to see enterprises like this one among our customers. I believe that with the initial purchase the customer would rather give preference to the basic configuration of the production line. Further on, as the quality of his company production improves he inquires how to expand the line so as to increase efficiency of the enterprise & make this product more attractive from the consumer point of view.
– What, in your opinion, is the difference between approaches to business in Russia & Germany?
S.Sh: There are big differences between the German & the Russian production standard; business in Germany is structured in a completely different way. I mean not the sizes of enterprises & volumes of output. Businessmen both in Russia & Germany are equally interested in long-term contracts with large enterprises, in joint projects with small, newly created confectionaries. The main difference is in the production standards: in Russia in each certain case it is necessary to reconsider “rules of the game” & sequence of actions.
It’s no secret that many confectionaries in Russia are in need of upgrading. We often see morally outdated outfits of the production equipment which occupy vast areas & require continuous additional investments. In this situation it’s hard to talk about flexible response to demand. Replacement of technologies could lead to the considerable cost reduction with the same, if not higher, efficiency; however, occasionally it is extremely difficult to prove it to the customer. The Russian business is more conservative and managers quite often prefer outdated patterns of the production control.
– Is, in your opinion, the Russian market of the confectionary equipment a mature market?
С. Ш.: Definitely! To a greater extent complexities of the Russian market are related to the sphere of politics & macroeconomics: political contradictions restrain business growth.
Study of the market situation on the Russian market has been conducted since the time of Rapido, and I am aware of clients cooperation with which is maintained since that time despite of crises & difficulties inherent in the economical situation both in the world and in your country.
Our regular customers need to constantly overcome them, but they all trust us and step by step we are moving towards new joint projects. These are our expectations in business. Basically, our projects are aimed at the wafer producers. As for extrusion, the line I am in charge of, here I see interest demonstrated towards flexible technological solutions aimed at the production of individual products & diversification of business.
– How do you estimate the level of competition in the Russian market?
S.Sh: I can not furnish the exact data, but I can state the following: if you need the equipment for the production of premium quality beautiful confectioneries contact one of the market leaders.
– What is your main purpose of participation in the exhibitions & what have you demonstrated to the visitors?
S.Sh.: We meet with representatives of the companies already involved in our projects and we also wish to expand the range of our customers. At our stand we display the information about the automated lines for the production of wafers & snacks including the latest technological solutions enabling to perfect the quality of confectioneries & snacks. For this exhibition we have prepared a collective stand with participation of other German companies engaged in the production of the equipment for food industry. Thus, we not only indicate our presence in the Russian market but we also consolidate the Hebenstreit brand position.
During the exhibition we focus the attention of visitors on innovative developments of recent years – including extruders for the production of healthy snacks containing natural ingredients, natural colors & natural taste. At present such food products are in great demand in the Western European market and are in growing demand in the markets of Eastern Europe. In all likelihood they will gain popularity in Russia in the near future. Life is changing, food habits of people are subject to changes; hence, there appears a demand in new food products which are already offered to the consumers by the most competitive players of the global market.
– No samples of the equipment are displayed at your stand, only information leaflets & examples of products are presented...
S.Sh.: You are welcome to Dusseldorf to the INTERPACK 2020! There you will see the Hebenstreit equipment in all beauty; this is the most important exhibition for us. There we’ll display the basic types of our production & the additional equipment; each installation can occupy the area of 10 – up to 20 sq. meters; it is very complicated to arrange all this in Russia.
As for the Russian exhibition I’d like to emphasize that primarily our customers & potential clients need comprehensive information about products which we are ready to offer to them, and for us it is of importance to demonstrate how we achieve high level of quality of their production. We furnish the information about the Hebenstreit equipment which will soon enter
the market, what makes it fundamentally stand out from the products of the other market leaders; we demonstrate various prototypes of our equipment & different variants of technological solutions – depending on expectations & needs of different target groups. We proceed from the need in the new components which may be required & how they can be combined for the production of high-quality confectioneries. Every visitor will receive the information about what & when will be on hand and whom to contact for the timely purchase of the required type of equipment.
– Are you aware of the tend to renounce the imported equipment in favor of the Russian factories-manufacturers? How do you accept it? Is there a principle feasibility to shift the Russian confectionary section to the home-made equipment?
S.Sh: I think this possibility can not be excluded. I am sure that the equipment import from abroad does not prevent the development of the domestic prototypes.