Its client base continued to grow with 1,886 new clients increasing its total customer portfolio to 21,884, in over 100 countries on five continents. In Spain, the number of customers reached approximately 2,000 and turnover was €2.72 million.
The company presented its results at an international meeting which it holds with its employees and distributors every year. At the gathering, the previous year is assessed and the guidelines and business objectives that will mark the organisation’s strategy for the next few years are presented. The strategy is geared to consolidate Lantek as a benchmark in the metalworking market.
The 2018 results reflect the consolidation of Lantek’s international business which represents 86% of the company’s revenue. The markets that increased most last year were Germany, with 32% growth, followed by China +30.7%, where the company is number one for laser machine manufacturers, and the US with 11.3% growth. Other countries such as Spain +10.6%, France, and Italy also showed significant growth compared to last year.
“For another year Lantek demonstrated its international appeal with very positive results in markets as competitive and digitalised as Germany, China, and the US. International projection and continuous growth in the number of clients and its product portfolio allowed the company to enjoy sustained development, resulting in a solid financial position that allows it to take on the growth necessary to face the new challenges of Industry 4.0,” comments Lantek CEO Alberto López de Biñaspre.
The results demonstrate that the company, which employs 244 people around the world, is on the right track for success. Last year it grew by more than 30 people, 16% more than the previous fiscal year.
The significant increase in personnel over the course of the last year was mainly due to the company’s strong commitment to strengthening leadership and supporting the digital transformation of the sector, as well as its expectation of greater growth in the coming years.
The digital transformation
With regard to business areas, there was a notable 40% increase in the Digital Transformation (Solutions) division, where Lantek accompanies its clients on the road to Industry 4.0. Its advanced manufacturing solutions offer comprehensive management of the plant and the company as a whole in a connected environment.
This strong progress shows that the change is real in many markets and confirms Lantek’s commitment to digitalisation. In this regard, countries with government support for initiatives associated with the fourth industrial revolution are notable. These include: Germany with an increase of 94%, countries like South Korea, Poland, and France, with growth of 50%, and the US with 25% growth.
Overall growth for the business division dedicated to machinery manufacturers was 12%. Cooperation between machinery manufacturers and Lantek consolidated and reinforced the provision of CAM generated data for use in management systems, MES, quoting, traceability analytics. This drove the development of this product line so that it would be ready for an increasingly open environment which can be easily integrated, enabling Lantek to reach more partners.
The new applications offered in the digital realm include Lantek’s launch last year of several systems developed on a cloud storage and data management platform using the most modern security techniques for data protection.
The cloud-based Lantek 360 suite incorporates four new solutions into Lantek’s current portfolio of products: Lantek Analytics (data analysis for in-plant decision making), Lantek iQuoting (a tool for preparing quotes), Lantek MetalShop (an online metal part shop), and Lantek Control Panel (data viewing and analysis in real time).
With Lantek software, sheetmetal manufacturers and metalworking companies are able to improve the customer experience and establish a closer relationship with their customers, maximising production performance and profitability.
Innovation and support
Throughout the events held during Lantek’s international meeting the company made clear its desire to continue its commitment to innovation. The aim is to deliver solutions to a sector that must revamp and automate its production processes in order to continue to be competitive and profitable in a hyper-connected world in which there are no borders and where success depends on a company’s ability to adapt.
“The industrial sector is taking on the challenge of digital transformation,” states Mr López de Biñaspre. As one of the driving forces behind Industry 4.0, Lantek wants to help companies in the sheetmetal and fabrication sector with digitalisation, adapting to their needs and different levels of digital maturity, offering solutions to make smart factories a reality.
“Our offer of a cloud platform responds to the challenges posed by digital transformation, making production processes much more efficient.”
Along with the new cloud developments, another example of Lantek’s commitment to innovation is its Technological Excellence Centre in Bilbao which was inaugurated one year ago to develop digital transformation software projects, supplementing the corporate R&D+i centre at the company’s headquarters in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Cloud, IoT/IIoT, M2M, machine-to-cloud, big data, connectivity – these are the cutting-edge technologies that have been applied to Lantek’s solutions and will allow users to analyse, extract, and interpret data that will provide real value to the business and, which will help users make decisions in real time.
Last year €2.56 million was allocated to R&D+i investment, a figure claimed to be well above the sector average, and 38% higher than the previous year. This innovative power has been focused on the launch of new advanced manufacturing solutions to support sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, energy, shipbuilding, agriculture, boiler making, metal construction, steelmaking, air conditioning, metal furniture, and distribution, amongst others.
“The Lantek team will be key to maintaining our organisation's leadership position,” Mr López de Biñaspre adds. “In order to achieve this we’ll need to develop a corporate culture that sets the team at the heart of its strategy, one that is able to draw potential from legacy and experience and combine it with new talent and new ways of thinking.
“This will allow us to achieve our mission for the next few years: to assist companies in the sheetmetal sector with digitalisation, making us their ideal partner in the new challenges posed by advanced manufacturing and the processes involved in converting their plants into Smart Factories.
He continues: “Innovation is part of our DNA; without it we wouldn’t be what we are today, a multinational company united by a fundamental principle of customer orientation. This principle affords us the degree of independence and autonomy necessary to ensure that our customers are offered the most appropriate solutions, regardless of the moment in time or the level of maturity of their business.”
Lantek has double-digit growth expectations for 2019, despite what it describes as: ‘the uncertainties shaking markets and causing deceleration in large global economies’. Mr López de Biñaspre comments: “Despite this, we expect to continue growing in markets such as Germany, the US, and China while exploring new business opportunities. At the same time we will be advancing in the development and improvement of advanced manufacturing solutions, offering services with a great deal of added value and quality.”
He concludes: “We are going to continue to focus on improving our customers’ competitiveness and doing so by anticipating their needs with proposals that allow them to be more efficient and profitable in the digital ecosystem. In addition, we are working on new maintenance, training, and consulting policies as well as new project management processes.”