Maximilian Laska is interviewed about the past year and the challenges and opportunities of the crisis.
Mr Laska, looking back at this year, are you glad that it’s over?
Maximilian Laska: Maximilian Laska: Let’s put it this way: we had planned to make this year memorable, but this wasn’t what we had in mind! 2020 was meant to be a great anniversary. We wanted to revisit 140 years of Laska. An era. We wanted to focus on the road to today’s success and our vision for a promising future, and we had planned to celebrate it with appropriate celebrations, speeches, banquets and all the rest.
Are the plans on hold?
Maximilian Laska: By spring at the latest, it had become clear that such celebrations could not take place, and that the time was not right for celebrating. The 140-year anniversary may have passed, but what remains is my absolute confidence for the future - the next 140 years. This period showed us that we’re really solid. In many of our developments we are, as usual, ahead of our time, and we have employees on whom we can count in any situation. They demonstrated tremendous solidarity and perseverance, and I am very grateful for that.
Does this mean that the past year was also positive in a way for Laska?
Maximilian Laska: Absolutely. Once again, we continued to develop. Max Frisch once said: “A crisis is a productive situation. One simply needs to remove the connotation of catastrophe.” We used the past year to conclude several pioneering projects in the field of digitisation. For example, the conversion from SAP during operations took place right in the middle of the first lock-down, largely remotely and still in record time. And of course there was the roll-out of the new Laska sales app. This sets new standards in the digital B2B communication with our dealers and customers, and the feedback we are getting is excellent.
A machine factory going digital?
Maximilian Laska: If the crisis taught us anything, it is how important it is to be easily reachable and networked and to communicate digitally with simplicity. Digitisation, like automation, is something that our industry cannot afford to sleep through. Both will continue to be major aspects for us in the upcoming year. Digitisation will continue to simplify our collaboration with our partners and customers and will make our work even more efficient. Automation is the future of food production and gives our customers a clear competitive advantage. Furthermore, we will again invest a lot of energy into expanding and strengthening our sales and service network. This is the only way to succeed in offering, together with our partners, products and solutions that get our customers excited.
Was this year, with Covid-19, a special challenge?
Maximilian Laska: When you aim for perfection, every year is a challenge. We made ideal use of the time; we had many plans and we did not slack. Laska is always working on nothing less than the perfect solution – and this year was no exception. By the end of the year we will have completed our new line competence centre. Another unique project: on over 2000 m2, we will be able to bring the world of automated production lines closer to our customers.
The year of the crisis, if one wants to call it that, even gave us a good push towards the future. With OOO LASKA, a newly founded subsidiary in Moscow, we strengthened our network in Russia. And we concluded the largest order in the company’s history, for production lines for a customer in China. What we achieved this year was incredible, and we also set the direction for the next 140 years, and I am really proud of that.
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