The Call For Leaders interview series reached its third phase, with the established 3Q format having received a revamp for 2021. The original Call For Leaders 3Q and its sequel, Call For Leaders – Back in Business, have seen us talking to quite a diverse roster of business leaders in Romania, representing top companies and various industries. In this latest episode, BR sat down with Thomas Schiefer, CEO ZIROM Romania, to see how the Romanian Titanium industry fared in 2020 and what are the plans for 2021.
After a difficult 2020 year, how do you think business optimism will be influenced in 2021?
Without any doubt, 2020 was an enormous challenge for all of us with all of its tragedies and its heartbreak. In this crisis ZIROM did reasonably well even in comparison to previous years although we would have had a better year without the pandemic. This was possible because of the hard work, which we all put in, the drive for continuous improvement despite the circumstances, the inherent optimism, that we will get through this and that we can come out at the other end of this better.
Now we find ourselves in 2021 and, as it was to be expected, the road to recovery is rocky, lined with vaccines, mutations of the virus and other uncertainties, but on a road, which will be leading out of this. Business optimism will therefore not be something unconditional but is recovering slowly and will need some time to become certainty. It is to be hoped, that economies are opening up as soon as reasonable and safe and that we can avoid the economic fallout, which might result from the closures during 2020. At ZIROM we can see already a higher order volume this year and we are prepared for an overall positive 2021.
How will your company be involved in the development of your industry, and also in the recovery of other sectors which were affected by the pandemic?
As a business we are well integrated within Europe and have our place globally. We sell high-quality Titanium products and have a competitive advantage of being close to our partners and delivering smaller quantities, which are just right for the given project. In addition we agree the necessary specifications with our customers and advise on differences between diverse standards to fit their needs better. We believe, that this closeness, better understanding and synchronization of demands, short lead times develop the industry and help to promote Titanium as a material for more projects in Europe, especially in this recovery period.
We take this approach also outside of Europe and are a reliable partner also in SE Asia, India and Japan. In these regions we use the approach developed in Europe and keep a close communication and support for our customer.
In 2021 it is and will be important to build back better. This means for us, that we select carefully our suppliers and customers and we keep a close eye on sustainability and an ethical approach to business. We don’t want to measured only by price but by the whole package, which we have to offer. In the same way we look long-term value of services and goods for our business. We believe, that this gives opportunities to ethical and sustainable companies, which are closer because of shared values.
How will you approach innovation and new investments in 2021?
We are innovating and have been testing materials and its properties in 2020. This we will continue in 2021 and will be expanding our capabilities this year. Just last month we have successfully tested special material properties for manufacturing watches. In terms of investments, we will complete our NADCAP certification with the necessary equipments and are looking forward to see how the situation develops within the next 2-3 months in order to kick off our planned extensions. We see clear development opportunities for the years to come and will keep growing.