The adventure started 28 years ago. How have you seen the company and the production environment change over the years?
"It all started as a one-man show. Back then, we didn't have the financial resources of today.
Looking back, we always had that service orientation. I was one of the first in my area with a built-in phone in the car. This meant I was always easily accessible, for commercial and technical questions.
"The era of the telex was over by then, but the fax was really the main means of communication." - Pierre Huyghebaert
The one-man show evolved into a real company.
"At the end of the 90s, I recruited the first employees. Then you notice that you need more structure and tools. We invested in a decent server, a CRM system, multiple telephone lines, etc. 2D drawings had to make way for 3D versions, a working method that was much simpler and produced fewer errors.
We saw our whole business strategy change over the years. Whereas in the beginning we only very rarely sold a camera with a robot, it has now become almost the reverse. In many of the applications, we provide the robot with an eye to work smarter. Even with 3D vision, which makes bin picking possible." - Pierre Huyghebaert
Despite the appointment of Johan Paul as Managing Director, the DNA of the organisation remains unchanged. How important is that to you?
"That's very simple: it was a crucial topic in the takeover.
In fact, I should have had a partner like Johan much earlier, because we complement each other well. I can now concentrate more on my strengths and my sales team. I try to pass on my creativity, perseverance and passion for technology as much as possible to my colleagues." - Pierre Huyghebaert
Your expertise and experience will therefore remain inextricably linked to the company.
"Absolutely. From my experience I can understand our customers integrators and production managers well and think along with them from their point of view. I take that knowledge with me as Sales Director where I mainly work in the south of Belgium and Luxembourg. For challenging projects, I support my colleagues commercially and technically.
"By professionalizing the team, I can now spend more time on the further development of the sales department. We try to respond directly to the ever faster changing production market and to optimize it." - Pierre Huyghebaert
Where does the greatest growth potential lie for HUPICO?
"Until now we have mainly worked reactively. This means there are still many potential customers who don't know us.
Together with Johan Paul, we aim to further professionalize our operations and work on our visibility. We are already profiling ourselves as a solution provider rather than a pure distributor. We are working on new solutions to support and relieve our customer integrators, so that they in turn can supply their end customers with the most advanced and reliable installations." - Pierre Huyghebaert
To achieve growth, HUPICO is also looking to expand its sales team. What kind of person are you looking for in the team?
" In all these years I have had many applicants. What has become clear is that all successful recruits had a clear passion for technology. This really forms the basis for a successful cooperation. We sell from a technical point of view.
Our Sales Engineers find themselves in very exciting and diverse production environments. From metalworking to injection moulding, from clean-room environments to challenging new developments linked to NDAs." - Pierre Huyghebaert
This interview was held on 13/10/2022.
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