What are Rexel's strategic directions in the region?
Rexel's markets in Asia-Pacific are very different in nature from European or North American markets. In China and India, we are strongly positioned in the industrial automation market, where we work in close collaboration with top suppliers like Siemens, Rockwell, Schneider and ABB. In Australia and New Zealand, our markets include many small and medium contractors, similar to Europe. The Middle East is usually a market for large international projects, but to counter its highly cyclical nature we have in addition developed more traditional distribution business activities with the Group's strategic suppliers.
What were the highlights of 2018?
In Australia and New Zealand, our efforts focused primarily on improving our services for our main customers, renovating our branches, improving everyday product availability across our branch network, and consolidating our partnerships with strategic suppliers.
In China, close collaboration with key suppliers enabled us to develop new solution offerings for the market, and to achieve a major success in digital: the implementation of an industrial management control solution. In India, we further strengthened our business activities in the north and west of the country and won several major MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) contracts. In the Middle East, our flagship project remains the Liwa procurement project in Oman, for the construction of a steam cracker being built in a very remote area.
What are the key success factors underlying all projects?
Our teams' expertise and commitment are essential and the increase in training initiatives across the region is undoubtedly related. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, we have stepped up the training programs jointly led with our suppliers for our employees and our customers. Australia launched a very popular training program for future leaders, as well as “boot camp” workshops for branch managers.