"LIGNA is Number 1"
"Companies that hide at the trade show or don't come at all have only themselves to blame and are of no consequence to the market."
Fritz underscores the significance of the trade fair: "At LIGNA 2015 we sold a saw mill to Hawaii – to Steve McMinn. He specializes in tonewood and has operated a SERRA saw mill near Seattle for years. The famous Taylor Guitars are made out of his wood."
"Our saw mill is essential to McMinn’s work," explains Johann Fritz, "because only SERRA technology is able to turn and clamp the logs to get the most out of them. In the past few years, it has become a trend to make guitars out of dark red koa acacia wood – but it only grows on Hawaii. McMinn founded a branch in the Pacific and is now operating our saw mills at two locations."
Eye-catcher for new customers
LIGNA has always played a key role in SERRA's history. "In 1990, before he even laid the company’s foundation on the Chiemsee, company founder Hans Fritz brought a mobile saw mill to Hannover. Even then, LIGNA was considered to be the world's leading trade show for woodworking machines," says the current head of SERRA. "As a young company with little seed money and an absolutely new machine design, LIGNA was and is the best marketplace to make international connections," says Johann Fritz. "Just imagine if LIGNA had not been held in Germany but somewhere overseas… We would never have been able to participate. But this way we were quickly able to tap international markets. Today our machines are very successful in 76 countries around the world."
Acquisitions, sales, B2B contacts, and image cultivation are the four objectives on SERRA’s agenda for LIGNA. The company lays meticulous groundwork. "We successfully referred to LIGNA and integrated invitations to the show in our customer magazine; prospects were contacted by e-mail," says Fritz describing the measures. "In addition, we made an effort to design a booth that really caught the eye. This was especially successful at the open-air site. Many visitors told us that we had the best stand."
A SERRA highlight in 2015 was the new dry sharpener Shark 200. "In the past 18 years no German manufacturer has continued to develop dry sharpening technology for band saw mills. For our customers wet sharpeners often aren’t practical," explains Johann Fritz. In addition, the company presented innovative multi-head technology that can be used for resawing. SERRA was represented at four locations: State forestry of Lower Saxony demonstrated the use of a SERRA tension simulator at their Expo Pavilion. The special display for processing plastic and composites also had exhibits that were sawed with SERRA technology.
SERRA views its presence as extremely important in order to keep up with global competition. "Every exhibitor of horizontal sawmills, like those we build, increases advertising spending for this type of machine. That’s why we welcome the competition." Johann Fritz ascribes great importance to the practical demonstrations at the open-air site. "In direct comparisons visitors can see that we offer better quality, better design and the best value for money." 2015 – the company’s 25th anniversary – was their most successful yet in the history of SERRA.
"LIGNA went really well and we were able to expand our claim to market leadership in our niche. Overall we are extremely satisfied with the cost effectiveness of our involvement."