We talked to Mark Bobonick and this is what he had to say about their inexpensive cost structure that has received numerous awards.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mark Bobonick: As an organization operating with subsidiaries worldwide, I can say we have ensured our workers’ health and safety has been our top priority while still maintaining our capability to deliver industrial hose solutions across the multiple industries that we serve. In the few employee cases we identified early on, we moved and placed these individuals into quarantine without any real day to day impacts on how we carried out our daily operations. Due to this, we were able to negate any real widespread infections at any of our subsidiaries, causing us to close down. Plus, we are deemed an essential business, so being in a position to serve customers who utilize our products daily has been vital for us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded NORRES.
Mark Bobonick: I am the Director of Sales and Operations here at NORRES North America. NORRES is a global company with our corporate offices based in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in which we have been a global player within the industrial hose marketplace for 120+ years. I have been the acting Director of Sales since early 2017, but it could be interesting to note that my previous sales experience was not within industrial sales but rather in the telecommunications sector. I have held several mid-level Managerial positions at different Fortune 500 organizations but was presented with the opportunity to “lead the charge” of a new era startup opportunity located in South Bend, Indiana. NORRES North America is still relatively new to the Industrial Hose marketplace. We have still gained significant traction within our focus industries, catapulting our sales to double-digit growth since 2017.
How does NORRES innovate?
Mark Bobonick: This is actually a key area I would like to emphasize regarding NORRES.
The industrial hose landscape has grown at a rather monotonous pace with regards to how new products are continuously rolled out and perceived by their perspective markets. In our industry, we have our select few who want to purchase the same items repeatedly. While I can respect that to agree as it relates to a customer’s specific requirements, one must ascertain that products must continue to evolve like other industrial sectors rather than stay the course of time and hope not to get run over in the process! One can operate at this level for short-term success, but it is not a key driver in determining the success pattern for long-term growth requirements. Here is where NORRES comes into play. NORRES currently has a very large product portfolio of industrial hose solutions that are sold into market-specific applications such as food & pharmaceutical, plastics industry, agriculture, fume & dust extraction, and industrial vacuum cleaner, just to name a few. Furthermore, we continue to invest in customizing current products to meet customer-specific needs and or design new products to capture new market share where current products are either failing, or demand is shifting elsewhere.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mark Bobonick: 2020 has proven to be a difficult year for everyone across the globe. I can state that NORRES is positioned very strategically in that we have not had any significant decreases in any major business. In many cases, several market applications we currently serve are thriving industries where their need for our product has never been greater. I would never want to state we are “recession proof” as no organization conducting business can clearly state that, or they would be lying to your face. NORRES serves multiple application and different market segments that we target with varying product groups, therefore, positioning us to capitalize on new or current opportunities in markets that are thriving and may have a greater need for an industrial hose.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mark Bobonick: Difficult choices stem from one’s ability to adapt to change management. Change is inevitable with any new product, market, or industry, and one must want to continue to evolve. With change come obstacles, one must overcome daily, weekly, monthly. Still, by always forward-thinking as a startup in the North American market gives us the swift ability to change a course of action and adapt to industry shifts positioning NORRES to respond with an even greater aptitude to serve our customers better daily.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Mark Bobonick: Stress and anxiety and the ability to perform under pressure are what separates good companies and great companies. Every organization has its struggles, but what are you doing to change tomorrow in which obstacles you face today become a thing of the past. Stress and anxiety will never cease to exist for me. It’s all about control. The best leaders and managers can leverage this to turn this into motivation and implement process changes.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mark Bobonick: Our main competitors in the North American markets would consist of Flexaust, HTDV, Masterduct, Kuriyama, and Kanaflex. We are innovation leaders, and we tailor products suited to fit our customers/distributors’ needs. There is always more than one way to customize a hose!!
Your final thoughts?
Mark Bobonick: NORRES will continue to be a prominent industry player within the segment of industrial hose solutions and systems. NORRES looks forward to expanding into even more countries around the world to focus on new markets and applications. Additionally, through our extensive R&D, modify new and existing products to ensure that our customers’ needs are executed in a timely manner. NORRES stands for operative excellence, and we will continue to do just that by delivering industry-leading product properties while being very cost competitive in nature. If you want a more personalized purchase process of industrial hose, NORRES is positioned to take care of your personal requests in a timely manner while never sacrificing our quality.