Christian Straubhaar started his career in 1998 in the USA asQuality Manager at Altech Corporation.In 2000 he came back to his native Country, Switzerland, to start his career in textile companies with the appointment of Leader Organization Manager at Rhodia Industrial Yarns. Starting from 2002, Mr Straubhaar was promoted to Plant Manager position for the polyamide company branch based in Poland.
Rhodia promoted in 2003 Mr Straubhaar as Market Manager with worldwide responsibility for sales and marketing of fibres and monofilaments produced respectively in Germany and Poland. Based in Germany, Mr Straubhaar was in charge of an area sales managers team in Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe.
In 2007 Rhodia entrusted him as investor manager for the LBO (leveraged buyout) operations for the new entity Nexis Fibres AG.
Mr Straubhaar joined Itema Group in 2008 as Head of Profit Center for the Swiss branch of the Company. His career in Itema evolved in 2013 with the appointment as COO for Itema Switzerland and in 2015 with the nomination as Spare Parts Business Unit Director.
In 2016 Mr Straubhaar was appointed Group Sales & Marketing Director in charge of weaving machines, spare parts and product management departments.
Exclusive Interview with TVC Media…
- What inspired you to Start A Company in Textile Machinery and what is Purpose behind it?
Everything started in 1967, when the Company Somet was founded in Italy in one of the main textile cradles of the country to provide weaving machines to the numerous weavers based in the area. Since then, the founder (the Radici family, one of the most renowned Italian entrepreneurs) proceeded over the years with a series of successful mergers and acquisitions, namely Vamatex and Sulzer, till to become the biggest weaving machines manufacturer in the world. In 2012, the Itema brand was born to put together the best of know-how and excellence of the three historic companies that today represent the foundations of Itema.
- In which countries/continents do you focus on for exports? What are the reasons behind this choice?
Our machines are exported to about 50 countries every year. We provide looms, original spare parts and best-in-class after-sales service to all the textile markets in the world, from African countries to Japan, South Korea, USA, El Salvador, Guatemala passing through the largest textile markets such as China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey. Wherever there is a weaver, Itema is ready to serve him.
- What motivated you to enter into the Indian market?
In India the fabric production is traditionally one of the main business areas. Historically, since Somet, Vamatex and Sulzer times, we are providing looms to the Indian weavers. In 2003 we decided to invest in the country and we set up our own organization, Itema India Pvt. Ltd., which today features more than 50 skilled and trained employees based in 4 different locations (Mumbai, Coimbatore, New Dehli, Kolhapur).
- What do you think sets apart your machineries over that of your competitors?
The Itema weaving machines are designed, developed and produced to be a tool in the hands of the weavers. Our machines feature the most user-friendly electronic platform that through a full color touch-screen console provides all the machine parameters at your fingertips. Each device is studied to guarantee ease of use and quick settings. Moreover, I would like to underline two main aspects that our Customers recognize to the Itema weaving machines: first, we have the highest textile versatility and fabric quality compared to competition and second, our looms are the most compact in the market providing a valuable space saving in the mill layout.
- Do you find any difference between the Indian market and the rest of the global market?
The Indian textile market is nowadays at the highest levels and some of the largest textile conglomerates are actually based in India. Off course in India the textile industry is divided into different segments that differ a lot from each other. The organized corporate segment is made by structured companies looking for the best equipment in the market to compete at the highest levels in the international market. Whilst the non-organized segment features medium and small companies (that actually compared to the worldwide textile mills size are not even so small…) with a huge growth potential if ready change the mindset and look for advanced technology instead of investing in old, second-hand machineries.
- What all Challenges / Hardship you faced during the journey?
Every day presents a new challenge as we constantly strive towards satisfying our customers not just 100% but 110%. The textile machinery market in which we operate is subject to sudden oscillations provoked by multiple factors such as political instability, raw materials crisis or contingent economic situation that afflicts the market demand. What we do as a Company to face this volatile environment is to build a solid and trusted Customer base in the market and to constantly invest in internal improvements to rely on a flexible and agile organization.
- Did you face any operational challenges?
If we look back at the past year focusing on India we can say that yes, we had a few challenges to face. Indian market faced some issues due to demonetization and GST introduction and we experienced a slowdown at the beginning of 2017 due to the introduction of the new regulations. Indian entrepreneurs found in any case the best way to deal with these events and we were close to them to support and find the best business solution. The situation for us is today stable in India, investments are going on and we are satisfied about the results we obtained.
- Could you tell us more about the Green Label certification that your company has received?
We are a part of the Sustainable Technologies Providers programme of ACIMIT which is the Italian textile machinery association. The association was the very first in the world to establish such a programmed to encourage textile machinery makers to promote their most sustainable technology offerings, adhering to very strict standards of certification related to emission of machines. The programme and the Green Label are managed by a third-party independent auditor and verifier, DNV, which conducts specific tests and evaluate companies in terms of different parameters, including power consumption. So, the Green Label certification is provided only if a company is able to meet these stringent parameters. The certification is very important for us, as we are working towards sustainable developments.
- So, this certification applies only in Italy or is it globally applicable?
The certification, although issued in Italy, is valid for the specific certified products and is applicable worldwide. This way a customer who takes very seriously the environmental footprint of acquired technology can be rest assured that a Green Label certified machine has the exact green credentials he or she is looking for.
- What is your take on the future scenario of your segment in the global market?
Today we have positive feelings about the future trend of the textile machinery industry and we expect 2018 to be another quite good year for the sector. We foresee stable investments in all the main textile countries and in India we are involved in big, important investment projects that will be finalized during 2018.
- What is your review towards the exhibition?
We are participating at ITMACH with one of the biggest stands in the hall and our airjet weaving machine A9500p on display to show our huge potential and our technical superiority to the Gujarat textile industry, which is one of the main here in India. Moreover, we expect to meet our Surat Customers, where we have an optimal and strong presence. I think that this exhibition has its main value in offering to companies the possibility to display their products exactly where prospects and Customers are.
- What are your future plans?
Itema is working to provide the market with advanced weaving solutions and we will continue on this path to be always a step ahead. With a clear mission in mind: our Customers need looms to weave fabric and, if they are looking to offer to their market the best possible fabric quality, Itema is the right partner and supplier.