Paul Cooper is Bystronic UK’s new managing director. In this article, we learn more about the man, his aspirations and how he intends to steer the company on its journey of sustained growth.
Can you tell us about your career history and your journey to Bystronic UK?
Prior to joining Bystronic I have worked in the machinery and capital equipment sectors, both in the UK and overseas. I lived in America and was responsible for subsidiaries in Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. After the US, I moved to Asia, living in Singapore, where I was responsible for several subsidiaries around Asia. Throughout, I have gained experience working for high quality machinery manufacturers in a global setting, often with manufacturers based in Germany.
Now I am most excited to bring my experience to Bystronic and be based in the UK again with responsibilities for my home market.
What are your first impressions and immediate priorities at Bystronic UK?
The prime focus for me over the next few months is to get to know and understand this industry. At Bystronic in the UK, we've got a great management team. I've inherited a well-performing organisation and that makes life much easier. I'm starting to understand what's going on, but really there is no firefighting for me to deal with. Clearly, the team has been very successful over the past few years, and globally, Bystronic is extremely well-led.
I am impressed with Bystronic’s culture which is centred on the customer and I personally want to visit as many clients as possible. That, for me, is as important as understanding the machinery.
Although we are a large, multinational company, we are still able to really understand the small manufacturer and work very closely with them. We are not exclusively aimed at large organisations and high-volume manufacturing – that’s definitely not the case. Somebody who has one laser, for example, is very dependent on that one laser so it needs to be reliable, maintained well and productive – but it also needs to be flexible and able to cope with the different work that that company undertakes.
But equally as important, Bystronic has a culture that really looks after its people as well.
What are your plans for the near and mid-term future?
The plan is to continue growing, but in a sustainable way to make sure we continue to give excellent customer service. We've grown quickly over the last few years and we see that continuing. The products are fantastic, so we're in really good shape.
Bystronic is widening its product portfolio as well which is important. We’re also enhancing our aftersales offering too through expanding and strengthening the team and further training our people to make them more multi-skilled and flexible.
What are the biggest challenges you face in the coming year?
Like other industries and companies, the current situation in the supply chain is challenging. So far, Bystronic has done a very good job in managing suppliers and delivering machines to our customers.
Capital equipment sales are linked very strongly to confidence and market sentiment. People will invest when they're confident. When they're a bit cautious or nervous, they'll put off the investment and make do with the existing equipment. We are seeing an increased uptake again, following COVID, and we hope this will continue.
How is Bystronic facing the climate change issue and net zero emissions targets?
It's an important part of the focus in the design of new machines to make them as energy efficient as possible. Sustainability is key for our company and is part of our strategy. While our R&D team is focusing on sustainable engineering to increase energy efficiency, our service and software teams are contributing to advancing a circular business model in our industry.
Bystronic also has a pre-owned business, where we refurbish used machines and bring them back to the market. There is a strong commitment from Bystronic to do business in a responsible way, not only regarding the environment, but the company ethos is also built around looking after our people.
When it comes to aftersales support, we try to minimise the need for engineers to travel to site by keeping machines running in their factories. The first part of this is our ByCare support, which is a strong preventative maintenance program, working very closely with our customers and looking after the machines, making sure that everything's in place so that every machine will minimise its downtime before you even reach a breakdown.
This is an effective way of reducing the need for breakdown support. We have a highly skilled, large team and we can solve many problems remotely by dialling in to customers’ machines and interrogating them.
What new products are in the pipeline?
This year we are launching a number of new products including laser machines with higher average power, and more automated press brakes and solutions for loading and unloading. Our aim is to help our customers increase their productivity. And in our showroom, we are showcasing the new ByTube Star which is something novel and interesting for many of our customers.
Where and when can people see the latest products from Bystronic?
We will be running an open-house in the autumn, and historically these events are very popular – we expect 40 to 50 people per day over two or three days. During the pandemic, we have been running socially distanced visits – but now there is a real demand to get out and about and see and touch the latest machinery. However our Experience Centre is always open to demonstrate our latest technology.