Gerd Pirsterer: Today, we have the pleasure to talk to Alfred Wurmbrand. He is the CEO of Würth Austria and a member of the Würth management. Thank you for joining us today!
Alfred Wurmbrand: Hello! Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure.
Gerd Pirsterer: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?
Alfred Wurmbrand: You know, saying something about yourself isn’t that easy. I’ve been working at Würth for 31 years now. As you’ve mentioned, I’m responsible for Würth Austria and I’m active in other committees of the group too. In the past, I used to be responsible for many other countries as well. So I’ve been around for quite some time. My career started in IT and logistics. Even as CEO, I can still say that logistics is my hobby.
Wolfgang Pichler: Mr. Wurmbrand, could you tell us who your customers are and what motivates them?
Alfred Wurmbrand: We work very closely with our customers. Typically, we work with businesses and sectors that deal with crafts, the automotive industry and so on. Anyone who works with their hands will find something in our item range. We are also active in the industrial sector itself. We supply about three million customers around the world in 80 countries from around 400 companies. We achieve this with our 79,000 employees, half of which work as sales representatives. This shows you what sales means to us.
Wolfgang Pichler: I imagine the pandemic was a stressful and challenging time. Has the past year changed your customer relationships? How have you kept in touch with your customers?
Alfred Wurmbrand: In my view, the pandemic not only changed the life of every person on this planet, but also the way we do business. During the first lockdown, we learned to quickly switch to digital channels. Even outdated devices, such as landline telephones, became more important. We were able to move everything onto a digital level, because we already had the infrastructure. This was very important for us and with the additional technology, we stayed in close contact with our customers the entire time. We moved the things we did in person before the crisis online. These efforts have helped us and many other sectors, we now also benefit from a hopefully full “bank account”. When I say “bank account”, I mean an account of relationships so to speak. We can use this “account” as a source of partnership and live off the strong relationships we’ve always had with our customers. We keep in touch with video conferences, phone calls and the like. What’s interesting is that contact with our customers is more frequent now.