20 years of DEKOTEC GmbH

From Leverkusen to the world: DEKOTEC GmbH enjoys success across five continents. But how does the company meet the specific requirements of each individual country – and what challenges does it face along the way?

To find out, we talked to Christian Araiz y Lopez, Area Sales Manager, and Michael Schad. The sector expert retired in 2021 after 36 years with the company, but he was happy to share his wealth of experience with us.

Mr Araiz, Mr Schad, what's your recipe for success when operating in different countries?

Araiz: Our product portfolio is the same all around the world; what we have to do is adapt it to suit different market conditions, experiences and attitudes. For example, unlike in Europe, the Middle East has a number of markets where 3-ply tape systems aren't yet as well-established as products like heat shrinkable sleeves. In these kinds of markets, technical advice is particularly important.

Schad: Flexibility, reliability and mutual trust are key to success. We always take the local site conditions and the customer's specific requirements into account. It's also important to consider the climatic, geological and geographical conditions when deciding on the right product for the job. We create tailor-made solutions for countries that face specific challenges.

What has changed the most since DEKOTEC GmbH was founded?

Schad: The more stringent health and safety and environmental protection regulations across the world have been the biggest change. Products need to be easy to apply and their use must not pose any risk to people or the environment.

Araiz: In addition to that, our product range is the most comprehensive in the market. In the last 20 years, we've successfully completed around 2500 orders in 45 countries, effectively going from zero to 100 in just two decades. Let's hope that continues.

Photo of Michael Schad
Michael Schad, Industry expert

Each country has its own set of customs and traditions. How do you adapt to the different attitudes you find around the world?

Araiz: This is another area where we need to be adaptable. Interactions are often more indirect than in Germany: Before we talk business with a customer, we might have an in-depth discussion about our private lives and jobs. During projects, phone calls are often arranged late in the evening or at weekends. This way of working enables us to build up very close, trusting relationships with our business partners. We also take religious practices and customs into account. We enjoy learning about all the different countries we do business with and the fascinating cultures of our customers.

Schad: Of course, there are lots of potential pitfalls to avoid, like misunderstandings or not knowing the etiquette at a business dinner. It's always a good idea to find out about the customs of the country you're visiting in advance. But it's even better if you can travel without any preconceptions! If you travel with an open mind and a curious, interested attitude, people will always be happy to help you. I remember a pipeline project we were working on in India: When we arrived, the pipeline that was being renovated was still buried, even though the work was due to start the next day. Later, a whole army of men and women arrived; the entire population of the village had hoes and buckets in their hands! The pipe was exposed and ready to work on by the next morning.

Photo of Christian Araiz y López
Christian Araiz y López, Area Sales Manager

Mr Araiz, how did you end up working for us and what do you enjoy most about your role?

Araiz: As a business administration graduate, I applied for a management position back in 2013, but it didn't turn out as I'd hoped: The vacancy had already been filled. Shortly afterwards, I was offered a different but very interesting position in Sales; the company wanted me on board!

As an Area Sales Manager, my role is very varied – my sales area alone covers Scandinavia, southern Europe and the Middle East, so I come into contact with a lot of different people and cultures. I travel a lot and I enjoy seeing our products from so many different perspectives, both in my dealings with buyers and engineers and in use on construction sites.

The things I like most about our company are the short chains of communication and the fact that you have a great deal of freedom to make a difference. We work in an effective, dynamic environment, and that's a lot of fun!

Mr Schad, what challenges do you see for DEKOTEC in the future?

Schad: Over the last two decades, DEKOTEC GmbH has succeeded very well in adapting to the existing challenges in different countries and in convincing customers with the broadest portfolio available on the market. For DEKOTEC, it will continue to be important to develop individual solutions for broad application areas. In addition to new construction and rehabilitation oil and gas pipelines, water supply and wind energy are gaining strong in importance.

Thank you for the interview!

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