Meet our leaders – a feature with Remco Wever
The “future is bright” for Industrial Physics – says Remco Wever, the company’s EMEA region president.
Industrial Physics is a global test and inspection organization comprised of numerous specialist brands. Across our organization we provide packaging, product, and material test and inspection solutions to manufacturers, production lines, and laboratories across a multitude of industries all over the world. As an organization, it’s our purpose to protect the integrity of our brands and products.
Across our organization, we have a number of skilled individuals in place to lead the charge and help us to achieve our bold plans that are rooted in our purpose.
One of our leaders, Remco Wever, spoke to us about the future of Industrial Physics, exploring strides we can take towards further realizing our ambitious goals.
The father of four from the Netherlands is a results-driven executive leader with a career of experience in strategic planning, turnaround, process change, and staff development. He brings global leadership experience in technical production environments and has been responsible for ‘professionalizing’ a number of successful companies. He’s now utilizing his skills to strengthen our offering across the European landscape.
Remco said: “What type of projects do I like to take on? Well, everyone talks about being ‘goal oriented,’ but for me, there has to be a real mission, a real task to be had. Something that I can really improve or change.
“The thought of running a company that gets just slightly better every year doesn’t interest me. I like big goals, a bit of chaos thrown in – some major decisions to take and a clear vision of the value to be created. That’s what gets me up in the morning and that’s what I love about my role.”
In this interview we discuss the explosive growth of Industrial Physics – both the opportunities and challenges. Oh…and there’s some talk about his love of paragliding, chess and role as a municipal councilor thrown in for good measure too!
Industrial Physics – the progress
Industrial Physics has enjoyed rapid growth over recent years. It now employs 300+ people across the globe, with 2,500 unique products across 46 testing applications for quality assurance, spanning 15 industries
Well-established German inspection companies like CMC-KUHNKE – at the forefront of metal packaging quality control for over 50 years – now work alongside firms like TQC Sheen, a leader in innovative paint test equipment since 1947 and Ray-Ran, who bring forty years of plastic testing expertise.
All of these companies had their own company culture, customer reputations, their own strengths and weaknesses and their own ‘way of doing things.’ So, bringing them together in a short period of time has been a huge undertaking. And for Remco, his challenge is to ensure that these specialist brands can flourish in Europe when united under the umbrella of Industrial Physics.
When a project is so large, where do you start?
We understand that you can’t be everywhere… you can’t do it all at once. But by following the customer journey and looking for synergies between the brands, products, and services, you begin to make steady progress and analyze where to best focus.
One of the key challenges to date has been to help some of the businesses to prepare for the next stage of growth. As a united Industrial Physics with a clear purpose and unified growth strategy, these individual brands are no longer operating in isolation. Not only are we offering a stronger portfolio to the market, but we are enabling these organizations to build upon the existing success they’ve already enjoyed. Together, we truly are stronger. And the opportunities are undoubtedly greater.
Remco said: “Many of our companies were initially director owned, often established decades ago by a creatively brilliant person, who knows the customer and the market inside out. But some of these companies had grown to a level they were struggling to surpass..
Remco explained that Industrial Physics can’t grow from nothing. It’s down to the leaders, those with or without an official title, to drive forward real, actionable change.
Leaders like Remco can help with the change management needed to get over the hump, to create the next layer. To make sure the business fundamentals are sound in order to build the infrastructure for future success: the right people, the right processes, the right training and technology.
And in all things, at all times, the process is built around what the customer sees and needs.
When Remco says he is customer focused – he means it. “I always think from the customers’ perspective and the customer shapes everything we do at IP,” he said.
“I keep them central in my thoughts: it’s a form of ‘outside-in’ thinking whereby I’m always questioning how the changes we’re making and direction we’re taking will help the customer.”
In essence, the customer wants the best product for the best price that comes with the best service. By offering the accountability of one point of contact, a familiar and appreciated way of doing things across multiple work streams and the attached time and cost savings…the IP approach is opening up lots of business.
Despite now having a huge portfolio of unique products, the success story to date hasn’t been about the ‘hard sell.’ Instead, the business has grown quite naturally by following the customer’s needs.
Customers don’t come looking for a branded product – they come with problems to solve. They’re finding that the coatings on their labels are coming off in storage, or they need help with testing a suite of recycled raw materials for packaging, for example.
With so many unique brands in the portfolio…IP normally already has the test and inspection solution…or can create one!
Brand collaboration across nations
The regionalization of the business across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Americas and Asia was an important first step. Including a reshuffle of leadership teams, sales divisions and product management. An initiative that essentially creates small companies, encouraging entrepreneurship.
Remco enjoys working with “smart people” who can build technical products that offer real customer value. Now that the company is crammed full of the best and brightest test and inspection minds and talent, it’s a fantastic opportunity for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Employees have been encouraged to communicate across the brands, to visit one another’s workplaces and learn new skills. And in the digital age, it’s easier than ever before to keep in touch through tools like Microsoft Teams and Yammer – something that is truly invaluable towards enabling greater connectivity and collaborative thinking. This enables people of all levels to bounce ideas off one another and bring their combined expertise together to solve larger IP problems.
By opening up the wider IP business and offering products and services that meet the changing demands of the marketplace, it’s emerging as a true ‘one stop shop’ for test and inspection.
Inspecting the future
This good news story is spreading far and wide thanks to a creative branding campaign. Alongside a successful website launch the international marketing team has been working with the company’s technical gurus to create thought leadership articles, reports, white papers and social media activity.
Remco said: “It’s brilliant to see our experts stepping up to offer their knowledge – it’s exactly where we need to be. This is the kind of marketing project that so many companies want to invest in, but don’t have the budget for. But it’s high on the agenda as it is for us and it’s exciting to see our story being narrated so well.”
While the IP senior management team has a clear vision of where they are going and how they will get there, there’s flexibility in the business model.
These days the world is changing fast and it’s unwise to set your path in stone. How many people could have predicted the pandemic or current conflict in Europe? You have to remain fluid enough to move with any unforeseen changes so that you can absorb and react to any challenges.
Remco, our leadership team, and everyone at IP are passionate about reaching a position where there are no gaps in the service offering – so that they can solve any aspect of any test and inspection problem a customer brings.
He said: “Our investors are keen to make more acquisitions, but it’s not about growth for the sake of it. It has to make sense from the customer perspective. We need to make sure that we get the right products on board to round out our portfolio, so that our customers don’t need anyone else.
“As an anecdote – we enjoy a strong relationship with a certain carbonated drinks giant. At the client’s major US inspections factory they have a large testing facility they call ‘the German room.’ Why? Because one side is full of CMC KUHNKE machines and the other equipment made by Steinfurth: both of which are IP brands from Germany. “
Encouraged by the impressive progress to date, Remco is looking forward to analyzing and solving fresh challenges the company encounters in order to reach new heights. Which is where his love of chess and a penchant for paragliding in his spare time may come in handy!
He loves being part of an organization or initiative that makes a difference, in both his professional and private life. This is demonstrated at home in Asten, NL he enjoys working as a city councilmember for his local municipality.
He said: “I like to know how things work and what goes on behind the scenes to create a successful company, public body or even a town. I have learnt so much at IP about the essential, hidden world of testing that so many people don’t even think about. It’s similar to being a councilor: there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that I wasn’t aware of. I enjoy learning and being part of the community, giving back to a place my family loves to live in.”
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