Interview with Norbert Klapper

Norbert Klapper
Norbert Klapper
CEO & Head- Business Group Machines & Systems
Rieter Holding Ltd
Rieter Holding Ltd

Investments in spinning equipment are quite volatile
Since 2014, Norbert Klapper has been a Member of the Group Executive Committee of Rieter Holding Ltd. He is currently Chief Executive Officer and Head of the Business Group Machines & Systems. Klapper graduated from Darmstadt Technical University and was Assistant Professor at Passau University and Munich Technical University, where he received his PhD in economics. Based in Winterthur (Switzerland), the company develops and manufactures machinery, systems and components used to convert natural and manmade fibres and their blends into yarns. Rieter is the only supplier worldwide to cover spinning preparation processes as well as all four final spinning processes currently established in the market. In an interview with, Klapper talks about the operations of Rieter, the world's leading supplier of systems for shortstaple fibre spinning.

What percentage of the global machinery market would Rieter like to claim for itself?

The size of the global machinery market is not so easy to access. Investments in spinning equipment are quite volatile. On average, we see the market at a volume of 4 billion CHF. Rieter has a market share of around 30 per cent.

Do you manufacture components for machinery by Rieter, or for all types of machinery?

The company comprises three business groups: Machines & Systems, After Sales, and Components. Components supplies technology components offerings to spinning mills and also to machinery manufacturers.

What are the challenges that machinery makers face? What are your steps for overcoming these?

The biggest challenge at the moment is the currencies. The monetary conditions have an impact on the cost competitiveness of our global manufacturing and sourcing network. As a consequence, Rieter has further reduced its exposure to the strong Swiss franc by streamlining production and reducing purchasing volume in Switzerland.

What is the latest machinery or innovation that is due to come out from the Rieter stable?

We are working hard on the innovations that we will present at ITMA Milano, Italy, in November this year. Among others, we are focusing on system integration and automation which will make a positive contribution to the success of our customers.

From which geographies is the demand the most for short-staple fibre spinning? Which are the emerging markets?

At the present, demand continues to be high in India and Southeast Asia. We see major investments coming in China in connection with the government?s programmes in Xinjiang province.

What is the kind of R&D that Rieter is involved in? What percentage of profit is allocated to it?

For many years, Rieter has been the technology leader in the spinning industry. This means that Rieter systems, machines, components and parts provide value to our customers. Improved yarn quality, lower cost for labour, raw material, energy and higher productivity are what our customers look out for.

Where are your manufacturing units located? Any plans to open shop in India, China or any other Asian country, if not already present?

Rieter has 18 manufacturing locations in ten countries. To India, Rieter has been supplying machines for more than 125 years. Here, we manufacture spinning machines at our manufacturing facilities at Wing and Koregaon Bhima near Pune. We provide sales, service and technological support from the branch offices at Pune, New Delhi, Coimbatore and Chandigarh.

India, industry observers says, is set to emerge as a machinery manufacturing destination. What are the five top things that this country needs to ensure success?

The machinery industry is reliant on a good infrastructure, the availability of skilled labour, an efficient and supporting public administration, as well as a clear and stable tax structure. For Rieter, the positive trend in the Indian market continued throughout 2014.

What are the top five HR practices that Rieter follows?

Rieter employs people of the most diverse occupation groups - from university graduates to apprentices. The main fields of activity are textile technology, product development, production, logistics, marketing, sales and services. The basis of Rieter's HR practice is to have the right people in the right positions. This is easier said than done in a fast-moving global business like the textiles industry. Our HR teams do a great job in achieving this goal. In addition, we do a lot in enabling our people to do a good job and make them successful both on an individual and on a team level. Supporting our people in managing change is a top priority - no matter what kind of change Rieter is facing.
Published on: 20/11/2015

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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