Perfectly Wired for the Future

Interview with Sascha Abendroth, CEO of Kabelwerk Rhenania GmbH

Sascha Abendroth, CEO of Kabelwerk Rhenania GmbH
Sascha Abendroth, CEO of Kabelwerk Rhenania GmbH

The future starts today. With visions, ideas, technologies, and companies like Kabelwerk Rhenania GmbH from Aachen. The company has committed itself to the motto 'Made for the future'; Rhenania produces fiber optic cables, which are synonymous with high speed and reliability. And last but not least 'Quality - Made in Germany'.

Economic Forum: Mr. Abendroth, Rhenania looks back at a history of over 100 years and stands for products that meet the requirements of tomorrow. How would you describe the portfolio?

Sascha Abendroth: We produce fiber optic cables for the expansion of broadband infrastructure, optic fibers, 'the veins of digitization'. The cables are known for their functionality and reliability and are used in critical infrastructure.

Economic Forum: Today, Rhenania has 53 employees, an annual turnover of around 20 million EUR, and has grown steadily over the past years. What is behind this growth and what impact did the COVID-19 crisis have on development?

Sascha Abendroth: COVID-19 did not negatively impact the positive demand. Of course, we were faced with supply chain issues. In this situation, we doubled down on our purchasing efforts and increased our inventory levels. An advantage was that we have always tried to source regionally, that is, to procure components from Germany and Europe, and only in certain cases from overseas. We will continue to pursue this approach in the future.

Rhenania Cable Works Production Area
Rhenania Cable Works represents German engineering – and finds perfect location conditions for this in Aachen
Rhenania Cable Factory Production Area
Rhenania is the largest remaining fiber optic cable manufacturer for the FTTX sector in Germany

Economic Forum: You have been the CEO of the company since February 2020. What have been your priorities during this time?

Sascha Abendroth: Over the past few years, we have initiated various things, worked on optimizing processes and the organizational structure. An example is that we have given more responsibility to employees, which has led to a positive momentum. Teamwork is emphasized today to contribute even more strongly to success together. In the field of marketing, we have set new impulses, intensified our social media activities, refined our brand, and hired new employees with creative ideas and inspirations. In this context, the slogan 'Made for the Future' was created.

Economic Forum: What exactly does this slogan signify?

Sascha Abendroth: With our products, we want to ensure that we actively co-shape the future in Germany, in the field of broadband infrastructure (FTTX).

Economic Forum: Rhenania operates with its products in a future market. How would you currently define the market position?

Sascha Abendroth: We are the largest remaining manufacturer of fiber optic cables for the FTTX sector in Germany. Even though competition from low-wage countries is high, we look forward optimistically. In Germany, there will be a catch-up need in the area of broadband expansion over the next few years. Considering increasingly higher data transmission rates, the field of fiber optic cables will continuously gain importance for various areas of life in the future. Our goal is to position Rhenania as a solid figure in this dynamic market.

Rhenania Cable Plant Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber optic cables from Rhenania are an important component for tomorrow's technologies

Economic Forum: Besides these forward-looking products, is there something that sets Rhenania apart from the market?

Sascha Abendroth: Unlike large conglomerates, as a traditional family-owned company we have time to grow and a strong family as owners ready to support the company in all situations. This long-term perspective is very valuable. Additionally, characteristics such as flexibility, responsiveness, customer orientation, and competency in consultation come into play. Last but not least, Rhenania cables stand for 'Quality Made in Germany', which is also appreciated by customers.

Economic Forum: Are there any concrete plans for the future?

Sascha Abendroth: We are currently implementing a new merchandise management program, want to continuously optimize processes, advance digitalization, and further establish lean management methods in the company. Above all, however, we want to continue to be perceived as the largest reliable manufacturer of fiber optic cables in Germany.