“We were convinced right from the beginning that marketing seamless steel tubes would become a success, and our excellent market performance proved us right,” says Managing Director Evelyn Hinz. Ms. Hinz has been working for GERO since 1996, first in the company’s inland sales division, later in the purchasing department, before she became a member of the management team.
In 2009, she was assigned the position of managing director. GERO has been successful from the start and experienced strong growth. A new warehouse was built; an office complex soon followed. The seamless steel tube business flourished, and GERO became a popular name in the market not only in Germany, but also beyond. “In the course of the years, three warehouses with a total capacity of 22,000 m2 went into operation. Today, we dispose of state-of-the-art warehouses that offer maximum flexibility for storing, loading and unloading goods,” says Ms. Hinz.
The company’s clear focus has always been on trading a large selection of seamless standard and heavy wall steel tubes, special heavy wall tubes with a wall thickness of 60 mm, 70 mm, 80 mm, 90 mm and 100 mm, which are all available from stock. In addition, GERO supplies seamless boiler tubes, threaded tubes, a range of seamless precision steel tubes and hydraulic pressure tubes.
“Obviously, the company’s slogan of being the seamless company refers to our seamless tubes in the first place,” points out Ms. Hinz. “However, we are proud to offer seamless operation processes and services with a strong focus on quality. That is what differentiates us from our competitors and makes us unique in the seamless steel tube trading business.”
And, indeed, GERO is more than a specialist supplier of seamless steel tubes. According to customer requirements, the company is able to offer additional external inspections and processes, including sand-blasting, coating, hot-dip galvanising, thread cutting, deburring, bevelling and annealing.
“All products, either processed or not, can be cut into individual lengths, depending on the customer and his specifications,” adds Ms. Hinz. In addition, the company boasts a 24-hour service, guaranteeing around-the-clock delivery in Germany and Europe. “This service includes packaging, labelling as well as export documentation within Europe and to overseas destinations,” says Ms. Hinz. “It is our total product and service portfolio that is the essence of GERO. In this respect, we are truly the seamless company with an added value to the customer.”
GERO has established close partnerships with wholesalers, and about 95% of its products are destined for the wholesale trade. While at the beginning, the focus clearly was on the German market, demand from Western Europe and subsequently from Eastern Europe has risen sharply.
“We now export about 40% of our products, depending on ongoing projects,” stresses Ms. Hinz. “In countries like Spain and Portugal, we have just incorporated new local sales representatives. It is important to understand the local language and know what each customer wants. A successful sales team is important for keeping contact with local markets.”
For GERO, Europe is still the most important market. It aims to expand its activities in Poland and the Czech Republic, as future prospects there are very promising. “No doubt, to a certain extent, we also depend on current market developments. The automotive industry is a bit weak at the moment, while mechanical engineering is still on the upsurge. However, some large projects are postponed temporarily, and some companies are careful about investing. We are not expecting enormous growth rates, but for 2013 we expect the same performance as in 2012.”
International expansion in the seamless steel tube market will be an issue on the company’s future agenda. “We aim to deploy more customer-oriented product and service solutions. In particular, the backing of our staff will play a vital role in future expansion. We care for our 80 highly motivated employees and initiate in-house training for them,” says Ms. Hinz. The company is about to implement a new environmental management system in 2013, with the target of certification in 2014. GERO is always determined to meet new challenges.