BKS Stromschienen AG is a family held enterprise, which started in the Swiss market 20 years ago with the first Cast Resin Busduct Solution, an alternative application to cable connections, which is mainly used in the heavy industry, e.g. oil and gas, mineral and mining, power industry, infrastructure, but also in data centers and hospitals.
In the last eight years, BKS has expanded rapidly, counting today with branch offices and agents in all continents and working with the majority of the tier 1 customers in the heavy industries mentioned above. Since 2015, BKS is also present in Chile, which will be a strategic business location for the firm’s activities within South America.
We have talked to the BKS team, which will participate in the Swiss Pavilion at Edifica:
As we can see, BKS Busbar has already a solid experience in global expansion. Can you tell us further on your experience and learnings?
BKS Busbar: Entering in a new market always starts with a business plan, committed to our basic principles and approved by our board. From our point of view, the key point for success is to follow your path insistently and not to stop half-way, even if economy might slow down and some difficult years need to be managed. Another important point is to understand the geographical, political and social situation in each country very well.
We have enjoyed setting up each of our locations and then grow together with them, as our team is very integrated. Among other, we have set up exchange programs, in which our local workers and engineers are trained in Switzerland. These tailor-made trainings also help to build up personal relationships.
Who are the owners and people behind BKS Busbar and its expansion to Chile?
BKS was founded by Mr. Gerd Becker, who meanwhile retired but is still a member of the board. Since January 2015, the CEO of the company is Mr. Michael Becker, who has worked in the company for many years is a technical entrepreneur who focuses continuously on the improvement of our products and the expansion of the portfolio.
In January 2015, BKS established its office in Santiago de Chile, managed by Mr. Patricio Huencho, a well-experienced professional in the Industrial and Mining Markets in Chile.
Supporting this new venture from Switzerland, Mr. Hein Lambermont, the International Sales Manager, brings his vast experience in the busduct business. On the other hand,
Regina Roos is in charge of Business Partnerships, as we target long-term contracts with local and global companies with a solid investment portfolio for the next 10 – 20 years.
Why is BKS-Busbar interested in the Chilean market, and what kind of opportunities does the market offer?
Chile and also other Latin American countries, like Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, represent excellent future market opportunities for BKS, as these countries are investing in Infrastructure, the Petro Chemical Industry, also Mineral, Mining and Power. There is a huge market chance in these sectors to replace cable connections with the smart, environmentally friendly and economic solutions of BKS.
With our office in Santiago, our presence at Edifica in Santiago and in May at the Mining Exhibition in Antofagasta, we are preparing a pole position for entering the Latin America market.
What are your market experiences so far in Chile?
Until now, our main focus in Chile has been in the mining industry. Although, we currently might speak about low investments in Chile, we have already been successful with projects in the Mining Industry, e.g. for Codelco, Minera Escondida via BECHTEL for the OGP1 Project and a major installation at the Sierra Gorda site, which is an important reference for us.
Currently we have several pending quotations and are incorporated in Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) Studies what means that we are considered as possible suppliers, so that we can expect further orders to come in either mid 2016 or early 2017. In this period, it is important for us to position BKS well and understand the requirements of the Chilean market in depth. We have already learnt for example that a valued feature of our Busduct System is its resilience during earthquakes.
What are the long term visions of BKS Busbar for Chile and the region?
We aspire to be the leading supplier for busduct applications. Our positioning will be based on becoming a listed supplier and also through partnership agreements with leading mining companies.
It is our goal to make customers our “raving fans” thanks to our operational excellence. This is not any easy task, but we are all committed to achieve this goal. At the moment, we already supply local support for site supervision and installation in place, which gives us a huge competitive advantage. The next step would be the question about local manufacturing in Chile or near-by. The answer is quite simple: It depends. In the context of the free-trade zones and a lot of bilateral negotiations still in development, we will decide calmly on the best option for BKS.