A face-to-face interview with Michael Clarkson, Commercial Director of Mattei Kompressoren GmbH since April 2018, conducted at the Waiblingen subsidiary, close to Stuttgart. In this interview he describes his vision for the German market, and the opportunities he sees for Mattei rotary vane compressors, when competing against screw compressors that have traditionally been very strong in Germany.
You are a newcomer to the world of compressors, but not compressed air: can it be said that your career path to date has been a bit like a salmon swimming upstream? In effect, it is exactly like that. My career started “downstream” where I spent more than a quarter of a century selling systems for the filtration and treatment of compressed air and gases. Now, with my arrival into the world of Mattei compressors it’s as if I have swum all the way back upstream to the source. Also, from a geographical point of view, I am coming back to my origins; most of my career was spent in Germany, before I transferred to Italy five years ago, running the hydraulic filtration division of a large Italian group, based in the province of Bergamo. Now I’ve come back to my homeland, whilst still maintaining a close relationship with my adopted country, Italy.
Why did you decide to join the Mattei team? During my career I have been lucky enough to work for innovative companies where I saw the passion and efforts made to improve the ways we do business. I was happy to rediscover those characteristics at Mattei, a family-owned company, with almost a century of history behind it. The enthusiasm and the dedication of the Contaldi family, together with their company vision firmly focused on the future, are essential foundations on which to grow a presence in a difficult market like Germany. I was also struck by the choice of Mattei to grow alone, investing in research and development to implement the company know-how and offer engineering solutions which over time are continually being perfected. Today, Mattei rotary vane technology truly represents an economically better alternative to screw compressors. As demonstrated by multiple independent thirdparty tests, Mattei compressors actually improve in efficiency over time, and for the entire duration of their life, typically reaching 100,000 operating hours. Because of the dominance of the screw compressor manufacturers in Germany, the full potential of the Mattei machines is still to be realised, and, in some cases, the brand is not even known by the potential customers. This was one of the motivations that drove me to join the Mattei team and give my contribution towards consolidating our presence in Germany, and further grow our brand awareness.
What are the particular challenges that Mattei will need to face up to in Germany? Every market has its own peculiarities and the German market is very demanding. Here companies are looking for commercial partners able to demonstrate their “Leistungswettbewerb”, the ability to stand out with excellent quality of both product and service, whilst being able to react accordingly to meet the demands of the end customer. To do this it is important to be physically present on-territory. Mattei understood this very early on and opened up the subsidiary in 1999.
What are the aces up the sleeves for Mattei in terms of activity in the German market, and what are the company objectives in the medium/long term? Mattei is the stand out among the compressor manufacturers. Whilst the main players in the sector have all been focusing on screw technology, since the 1950’s Mattei has believed in and followed the path of rotary vane technology. Owing to their characteristics, such as the absence of roller and thrust-bearings, which reduces the need for maintenance interruptions; or their low energy consumption which delivers impressive running cost savings, the Mattei compressors are perfectly suited to the needs of an export country like Germany that requires machines which are simple, compact and highly resilient and just become “fit & forget” systems. I consider Mattei to be one of the top contenders for OEM applications, and another string to our bow of late has certainly been the new range of machines for use on the railways, which were recently showcased at the Innotrans exhibition in Berlin.
Our first objective therefore is to further increase and strengthen the presence of Mattei in the German market, so that we can be even more competitive and be able to convert a higher number of sales opportunities.
One final question. Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? In ten years I will be nearing retirement and so I would be proud to be able to look back over this journey and to see that the well-deserved growth has been delivered for Mattei in the German market.
[From Issue 13, Vane Magazine, January 2019]