While the 2009 global recession definitely left its mark on Phoenix Contact, the industrial connection technology manufacturer took advantage of the downturn to emerge fully prepared for the resulting upswing.
At its annual meeting with customers and local business media in Mississauga, attendees were filled in on the impact 2009 had on Phoenix Contact, as well as its plans for 2010.
Overall, a shrinking in global demand took the company back two years in terms of revenue. The greatest drop in sales came from industry sectors with long supply chains. Things weren’t good in North America, either – as an example, the only market to grow in Canada in 2009 was Quebec.
That being said, not all the news out of 2009 was bad. Industry sectors with longer project lead times – such as the energy sector – and newer industries, such as solar energy, saw significant growth. Similarly, the Asian market saw stable growth – with double digit growth coming from China.
Senior VP of Global Sales, Frank Stuehrenberg, and Director of Sales Overseas, Ralf Massmann, reported via teleconference from the Hanover Fair. In their discussion, they revealed that Phoenix Contact’s recovery strategy revolved largely around innovation.
While the company was forced to slash certain budgets across the board – namely marketing and payroll – Phoenix actually increased their R&D budget. In fact, the company spent more money on innovation in 2009 than in any other year.
As a result, the company introduced 1,500 new products at its booth at the Hanover Fair – including a charging terminal that was on display charging the first fully-electric Porsche. Also on the list of new products? Industrial managed switches that combine the features of the company’s more “deluxe” switch with a plastic housing, to make it more affordable for customers.