Home / Interviews / Interview with Silke Brand-Kirsch
Silke Brand-Kirsch
Silke Brand-Kirsch
Executive Partner
TT: Which are the core areas that you work in technical textiles, and what is the growth potential in each niche?

Schlegel und Partner was founded in 1992 with extensive international and industrial experience. Originating from a multinational group, we concentrate our market research activities on business-to-business markets in the automotive, chemical and industrial sectors. In the technical textiles sector, we deliver single-client projects for almost all applications. We cover everything - from structural reinforcement parts for automobile production and filtration applications and for air pollution control to indoor air quality filters as well as more end-user related segments such as shoes and clothing. Most of the segments in which Schlegel und Partner is active hold growth opportunities in technical textiles. The strongest growth can still be found in the filtration segment, but globally there is also a high demand for technical textiles in automotive applications with two-digit growth rates in certain niche segments of that market.

TT: What are the trends in nonwoven segment and what new can be expected from this field? How has the market for the same evolved over the years?

The evolution of the nonwovens sector is characterised by both traditionally used materials (e.g. woven, paper, film) being substituted by fibre-based products as well as complete substitutions in the entire product cycle. This ensures steady growth and capturing of new markets. In the textiles sector, a certain attainable degree of substitution can be observed; but entire penetration of a whole application is very rare. There is always room for other technical textiles (e.g. knits, woven, net). Globally, the total market volume for technical textiles is still four times larger than the nonwovens market. Like all durable markets, the segment's spread is much broader with the highest share of technical textiles in the mobile tech segment, followed by building or construction and industrial applications.

TT: Which domestic or global fairs do you attend and what do you expect to gain from there?

Schlegel und Partner visits the leading fairs and events of its key industries which are in the transportation sector, the IAA and SAE, for the textile and nonwovens sector, the Techtextil, INDEX, IDEA, ANEX, Vision+Insight, Outlook and in the chemical sector the ACHEMA, and Feica. The main purpose of our attendance at these fairs and events is, in addition to networking, to get deeper insights into novelties, carry out expert interviews and to broaden our general knowledge of the markets.

TT: Which are your biggest markets and where does Asia feature in your growth strategy? Which are the countries seeking more of technical textile?

Schlegel und Partner is internationally active, offering market research projects for all countries in the world. About one-third of our projects are country-specific (covering a single country), but most of our work has a global reach covering more than three continents. The Asian market of course plays a major role in our growth strategy and also for our main clients, as most of them are global players with key strategies of significantly increasing their market shares in Asia. In addition to China, we notice a strong interest in Southeast Asia, especially in the construction segment.

TT: How has your business grown in the last two years and what is your target growth for the next two years?

Schlegel und Partner has had a steady two-digit growth path over the past ten years, which was even stronger in the last two years with many new customers in all of the segments in which we are active, and we plan to continue on with strong growth until 2017.

TT: What are the qualities that distinguish Schlegel's products from your competitors?

Schlegel und Partner is the missing link between market research and strategy consultancy. We transform information into knowledge and knowledge into strategy. We are 'Your Market Insighters' basing strategy on in-depth knowledge of markets to facilitate a solid ground for decision making. With 2,000 successful projects and a deep knowledge of a large variety of sectors, technologies and regions, we employ over 40 professionals from all over the world and are able to provide our clients with fast and reliable first-hand market information and strategy recommendations.

TT: What are your views on sustainability and how can sustainability be integrated?

Projects on sustainability have strongly increased over the previous years. We've covered various topics - from improving the exploitation of resources, using biodegradable feedstock and reusing waste to concepts that target the consumer (e.g. diaper waste collection) or for the automotive sector (thermoplastics vs thermoset products). Our clients are looking for new opportunities to work on their CO2 footprint or to generate unique selling propositions based on these concepts. Our research has shown that the willingness to pay premium for having a sustainable material is limited. Without legislation or restriction made by specifications, it is very hard to market these products.

TT: What percentage of profits do you earmark for R&D annually?

We dedicate 7 per cent of the capacity of our staff to transfer latest methods and trends into new products, and we ensure a roll-out into our markets through our new business development department.

TT: What new products can this vertical expect from Schlegel during this fiscal?

We will continue to focus on our key products which are explorative market research, voice of customer projects and employee surveys, all based on reliable statistical methods and latest management tools.

Published on: 16/06/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.


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