German RepRap GmbH manufactures 3D printers. Through the Manager Training Programme, the company has established a sales partnership with Egyptian company Promech. The Munich-based firm now has an impressive track record in the region. In an interview, International Sales Manager Ismail Serrhini explains what makes the partnership with Promech so successful and why 3D technology is in such high demand today.
What does German RepRap do?
We are a fairly young company that develops, manufactures and markets 3D printers. We serve customers in the automobile industry, in medical technology and a variety of manufacturing branches. Our technology is also used in unexpected areas, like in Zurich where the Opera House recently created six extremely life-like birds using one of our printers.
You cover the Middle East and Asia/Pacific region. How has the pandemic impacted business there?
Overall I’d say the regions have been hit just as hard as all the others. In the Asia/Pacific region, there is an ongoing effort to get back to “business as usual” more quickly. Some of the countries I deal with are better versed in dealing with a pandemic than Europe, although there are some differences among countries.
3D printers are in especially high demand in the Middle East. Why is that?
Systems for additive manufacturing are basically used to complement traditional production technologies. With its strategic location between Asia and Europe, the Middle East region knows first-hand what happens when supply chains suddenly break down and components are no longer available. 3D printing provides the flexibility and independence needed in such situations.
What has made the partnership with Promech so successful?
I think there are several factors at play here. Promech is an established company with offices in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It is well connected, its work is valued, and customers often recommend it to others. This is a cultural environment that really values recommendations. Our contact Karim Mohsen is the sales manager for Promech in Egypt and the Middle East. He completed the Manager Training Programme, so he is familiar with Germany’s business culture. He also has the intercultural deals to handle cultural differences sensitively, and has passed his knowledge on to colleagues in additional training courses. To me, intercultural know-how is the key factor in establishing business connections. The technical side comes second, and the successful conclusion of a business deal is the very end of the journey.
Karim Mohsen, Promech sales manager, on working successfully with German RepRap:"German companies are known for excellent quality and reliability. These are qualities we also value highly. The challenge for us as a partner in the region is that we have to persuade potential customers that the high purchase price is worth it. So we really need support from partner companies that have our backs, whether that comes as a spontaneous business trip or the quick delivery of a reference component. In our culture there tend to be a lot of long discussions in the beginning and a focus on personal contact. Yet things can happen very quickly sometimes as well. German RepRap has proven to be an excellent, flexible partner that can adapt to the needs of our cultural and business environments.” Karim Mohsen completed the Manager Training Program in Germany in 2017.
Click here to read about his success story.
Face shields made in a 3D printerThe "Makers vs. Virus" initiative is an alliance of coders and 3D printer owners. With the support of German RepRap and using a print file provided by the alliance, Egyptian Promech has been making face shields. The shields were donated to medical care workers in Egypt at the start of the pandemic when there was hardly any protective equipment available. "3D printers can quickly close supply gaps. And it makes us particularly happy when they can be used for good," Ismail Serrhini says.