Interview with Gerhard Huber

Gerhard Huber
Gerhard Huber
Chief Executive Officer
Benninger AG
Benninger AG

Bangladesh is one of the largest exporters of knitted textile products. What is Bangladesh’s share of the global textile machinery market? Why?

Bangladesh is an increasingly strong market both in the woven segment and in the knit segment. We are currently observing a shift in production from China and India to Bangladesh, which leads to increased capacity and new investment activity.

What do you see as the key components of sustainability for textile machinery making?

As already mentioned, this calls for a holistic approach in order to ensure long-term and significant improvement with respect to the careful use of resources, energy efficiency and CO2 emissions. The use and continuous development of “best available technologies” is mandatory in order to secure sustainable textile production. This requires close cooperation with the customer and retailers so that the needs and requirements of the entire process chain can be taken into account in product development. We believe in a comprehensive system solution approach which offers customers a long-term, sustainable solution in terms of methods, productivity, operating costs and environmental impact.

You have once said, "After the global financial and economic crisis that deeply affected all the sectors, important changes have been observed in the market dynamics, atmosphere and demands." Can you elaborate a bit on that?

This development has resulted in an acceleration of the market dynamics with respect to the competitive environment, market requirements and process/technology requirements. The competitive pressure for standard processes/plant has greatly increased because these days the machines for these applications are mostly supplied from Asia. In view of increasing customer pressure on prices/margins, we see many compromises in the quality of machinery (process stability, reliability, quality etc.), which is a questionable approach over the long term. In order to develop functionally sophisticated applications, technological development is increasingly required so that production benefits and the sustainability of production processes can be secured as mentioned above.

Benninger has its own branches in Asia’s and Europe’s most important markets. What are your expansion plans for the US and Middle East? Can you elaborate on your answers with reasons?

Benninger operates worldwide with its own subsidiaries in the most important textile markets and with longstanding representatives (partners). In this way we also cover the US and Middle East regions.

Let me ask you this, what are the significant changes observed by the company in customer behaviour? How do you think a company can satisfy its consumer’s needs?

As I have mentioned before, we see intense competition owing to ongoing shifts and the dynamics of the value creation chain in textiles. However, this also provides opportunities to adapt and expand our range of products and services. As a tradition-rich and market-leading company in our segment, we continue to uphold values such as partnership, reliability, flexibility and technical competence in order to offer our customers adapted solutions with long-term added value.

Finally, how important is it to determine technological trends for a company to be at the forefront?

As a technology leader there is a certain obligation to do so and sometimes it is essential, while ultimately the focus must be on customer benefit. It is distinguished by comprehensive process know-how, both in terms of consultancy for applications and project design, and in holistic customer relationships covering the entire life cycle of installations.
Published on: 12/06/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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