Sustainable Cooling Solutions The new Secop – A Pioneer in Refrigeration Celebrating 10 Years of Brand Identity

2020 has been a significant year in Secop's history: the company celebrates its 10 years brand anniversary and completed a restructuring process that will set the course for the future. In addition, the global Covid-19 crisis resulted in unexpected challenges. During an interview Secop's management board reports about what happened during the year, the new Secop and how it will be organized to keep and strengthen its position as one of the world's leading companies in the refrigeration business.

In September 2019 ESSVP IV, advised by Orlando Management AG, had completed the Secop acquisition. During the last year after the acquisition, various changes happened: Can you put the "new" Secop into words?

Frank Elsen, Chief Financial Officer:
First of all, Secop is a very long-established and experienced player with a tradition of high quality, innovation, and application engineering and customer service. The new Secop will continue to focus on these strengths.
All transformations seen during the last twelve months are part of our strategic plan to relocate our valuable resources, including funds for research and development, to our light commercial and mobile cooling developments for our customers. Within residential refrigeration, we will now only focus on niche applications for severe conditions such as high ambient temperatures where our experience and technology can differentiate with premium solutions.
Our actions within the last twelve months were meant to shape the new Secop: the closure of production in Austria, the sales of the DELTA line, the establishment of the new R&D center in Gleisdorf, and the transfer of the K-Series (formerly KAPPA) line to Slovakia – they all are part of our strategic plan to concentrate our core resources in our Stationary Cooling and Mobile Cooling segments and consolidate our production facilities in Slovakia and China.

As you have said, there have been significant changes in Austria: The DELTA line has been sold, Fürstenfeld production has been closed and Secop has opened a new R&D center in Gleisdorf in October 2020. Can you explain in more detail the transformations that happened to Secop Austria?

Fabricio Possamai, Chief R&D Officer:
All our activities in Austria are linked to the decision to focus on light commercial and mobile cooling applications. As we only go forward with the production of residential compressors for niche applications, we closed our production site in Fürstenfeld and turned Secop Austria into an R&D competence center. We are keeping the design competences and will bring them to our new R&D headquarter in Gleisdorf to focus on new product developments, to support the strategic roadmap for our core businesses.
Our engineering team in Austria has excellent connections with competence centers at university and other R&D centers in Austria. Additionally, in our new R&D center, there are fully dedicated laboratories for new product development.
It is important to mention that we will of course retain all other R&D departments located in Slovakia and China. Further, we have a dedicated competence center in Flensburg, Germany: MCC – Motor Competence Centre, to support the development of electronics and motor control, as well as in our application labs, located in Germany, where we exploit our deep knowledge to support customers in system optimization.
Thanks to our new R&D assets and organization we can support new developments with an efficient and agile approach, exploiting all the know-how spread around in our organization: compressor mechanical design, thermodynamics, electronic design, system testing. It is a big team, all connected – this will give us a big boost in our product development.

What markets do you aim at with the two core business segments Stationary and Mobile Cooling?

Dr. Philipp von Stietencron, Chief Commercial Officer:
In the Stationary Cooling segment, the main applications are food retail, food services, medical, commercial freezers or coolers, beverage dispensers, special commercial equipment. We have various solutions to support green and efficient applications and we are focusing on the development of new products and solutions, for example for the medical segment where we want to further leverage our knowhow for efficient and reliable solutions to support our partners.
In the Mobile Cooling segment where we are the global market leader, we offer DC-powered or battery-driven compressors that are specifically designed for trucks, cars, busses, and recreation vehicles. Further, we produce compressors for portable boxes and special applications as well as for the solar and medical sector, e. g. DC-powered mobile boxes for vaccine transport which is of course very important during these times.
Another stimulus for growth in the Mobile Cooling segment is e-mobility. With batteries, you can run a fridge even over a long-time frame, as the energy consumption of our compressors is very low. Our solutions could potentially allow food delivery in the trunk of a car without eating up the battery.
For residential refrigeration, we support only applications for very critical ambient conditions. Our main market is the Middle East with its high outside temperatures and we will continue to support these heavy-duty residential applications.

The production of Secop’s K-Series compressors has been relocated from your former plant in Fürstenfeld, Austria, to Zlaté Moravce in Slovakia. Why this relocation and what is the new footprint of the company?

Dr. Jan Ehlers, Chief Operation Officer:
We sold the DELTA platform in Fürstenfeld, residential compressor production in Austria, and received funds to increase and foster our light commercial and mobile business and its respective platforms.
That’s the first reason, the second, is: We consolidated our platforms in Slovakia, again to concentrate our efforts on the light commercial business there, additionally, we made space and resources available to relocate the K-Series platform (formerly KAPPA) from Austria into our Slovakian organization.
That way, we have been able to consolidate our European production into our Slovakian production site, resulting in cost competitiveness and synergies for commercial compressors production.
Additionally, we are broadening our production footprint within our site in Tianjin, China, as well, with some new light commercial production lines and a new production line for mobile or DC-powered compressors, which will emerge in the upcoming year to strengthen our manufacturing capabilities in China.

Now that we have clarified what happened in the last year and what the new Secop looks like can you please explain how Secop is closing 2020 while still facing related Covid-19 effects?

Dr. Jan Ehlers, Chief Operation Officer:
We handled things better than we feared, thanks to our involvement in different segments with different dynamics we could pass the critical phase with a good balance of results.
China had to shut down at the beginning of the year as requested by the government for all production companies, but after that, we restarted at full speed and recovered the accumulated backlog quickly due to our very good supplier relationships and flexible workforce.
In Slovakia, where the supply chain had no interruptions, we had to adjust and optimize production based on unpredictable demand fluctuations. Indeed, order flow and forecast predictability had been impacted by the Covid crisis, particularly in some markets such as food service and bottle coolers. But thanks to the fact we are a lean company and have a flexible production we could manage to adapt quickly our production to respond to unstable and fast changing market demands.
Moreover, the standardization and consolidation program within Slovakia plus the relocation of the K-platform has performed well and according to plan despite Covid-19 interference.

Can you explain the vision and mission of the new Secop?

Dr. Philipp von Stietencron, Chief Commercial Officer:
Our vision is to become the first choice for partners that are searching for leading-edge refrigeration solutions and a premium customer experience. Accordingly, helping our customer to succeed is the center of everything we do at Secop.
Our mission is committed to delivering advanced refrigeration compressors and controls, providing customers tailored sustainable solutions in our target markets, e.g. for light commercial, battery-driven, and special cooling applications.
The keywords here are “partners” and “solutions”: We want to work together with our customers, and develop partnerships. And we want to evolve from offering products to support our customers with solutions. This also refers to the services we are offering, creating premium customer experiences.
Our mission is concrete and signals the fact that Secop is going to be more and more specialized. We see our future as a partner of companies seeking for added value products and for innovative solutions covering topics such as energy efficiency, eco-friendliness, and sustainability.

Can you overview the values of the New Secop?

Frank Elsen, Chief Financial Officer:
In the new Secop we have four core values in which we strongly believe:
The first is “perform with passion”: We have a great team with strong and long experiences in the industry, a team that works with passion to solve customer problems and to find innovative smart solutions, to guarantee a great experience to customers and great results to shareholders. That passion is a genuine German “Mittelstand” value, something that you often miss in large corporations, and I am convinced that this makes a huge difference in times like the ones we have now with Covid, as it makes things possible that you would not expect.
The second one, “deliver high quality”, refers to our key-value all over the organization. Quality is a must to make sure every team member in our group focusses always on delivering quality products and quality services sustainably. This is how we want to distinguish ourselves from our competitors that play the price game only. Think of retail and what could happen with inferior solutions, the financial loss caused by discarded products would be immense.
Then there is “act with integrity”: We strongly believe in our staff, our company is made of people from different countries and cultures. We believe in integrity in all areas: With our compliance systems we ensure integrity in all our business areas and regions and we sustain, support, and require integrity in every touchpoint of the organization.
The fourth value is to “work with team spirit”: It is great to have employees with excellent know-how and experience, but not enough if they just work individually with passion and integrity. There is the need to have groups working like an orchestra, with a great team spirit and not too many hierarchies to achieve the best results. In the new Secop we see a team working together to achieve goals, to amplify the capabilities of every single member, always focusing on the customer. A good team spirit makes things possible that you may not think are possible, like the move of our R&D department from Fürstenfeld to Gleisdorf. It was accomplished ten weeks earlier than planned.

Let us dig deeper into your portfolio of solutions. What are the core elements?

Fabricio Possamai, Chief R&D Officer:
One core element is green refrigerants: Secop is a pioneer in developing compressors that use natural refrigerants, that do not harm the ozone layer and do not contribute to global warming. We have different platforms optimized for hydrocarbons, and we keep developing and releasing new models to support the coming transition to hydrocarbons as required by new regulations. We invested in the design of high-quality reliable and safe solutions for flammable refrigerants and we optimized the performances of our range of compressors to guarantee our customers a wide range of applications, supporting customers in the transition to these new refrigerants.
Another core value of our portfolio is sustainability: high energy efficiency compressors with much less energy consumption. In this area, we have technical leadership. With our solutions, we contribute to the global CO2 footprint reduction. Secop offers different platforms of fixed speed compressors optimized for the best efficient performance as well as a wide range of variable speed compressors designed for commercial applications, with a unique electronic control for optimized system performance and control. We have by far the most complete electronic control for piston compressors and we have a long experience in customizing the electronics to optimize system performances. And of course, energy efficiency is not only a matter of sustainability but also a cost factor. We produce compressors that can save up to 40-50 percent of energy consumption in supermarkets.
The third core value refers foremost, but not solely, to mobile solutions. We worked a lot to improve the autonomy and compactness of our platforms, to grant less material utilization and easy-to-carry-around platforms. Our compressors and electronics are optimized to guarantee top performance for various types of applications and specifications, and we guarantee severe reliability tests that withstand automotive requirements, too.

Can you explain what you consider to be Secop’s key value proposition and what you offer as a customer experience?

Dr. Jan Ehlers, Chief Operation Officer:
As indicated by our vision, it is s all about customer-centricity. With our structure, we try to get to know our customers closely to better understand their needs. We regard ourselves as a solution provider, solving specific problems together with the customer as a partner and this is something we do, not only daily, but throughout the whole life-cycle, from product selection to after-sale phases.
Secop has a skilled sales team in each region that works together with customers to find the best product that meets their needs, and support business growth. We are increasing our platforms to deliver more and better products and we have a world-class application engineering team that works closely with the customer to select the best solution for system optimization. As a technology leader, Secop can support our partners in the transition to new refrigerants and new efficient systems, bringing to the table our experiences from different segments and applications.
Furthermore, we have a very experienced supply chain and now with the new Secop restructuring we aim to deliver quality products and reliable solutions to the market, faster than before.

Secop has now been on the market for ten years as an independent company, but the company has had various changes of ownership. How do you see the next five years for the Secop Group?

Frank Elsen, Chief Financial Officer:
We all in our management team see Secop as a “hidden champion”: We are very strong in a growing segment of the market driven by the megatrend “need for cooling”. In the next years, we want to further develop in our core segments Stationary Cooling and Mobile Cooling and strengthen existing global relationships with customers by superior products and services.
We believe we can acquire more market shares in our core segments concerning solutions and customer benefits.
Internally, we aim to attract new talent at Secop to shape the future of our company. In our Research and Development departments, we recently acquired new talented employees. I hope that with our special approach we will attract practically oriented specialists, making us an even better company and grow in the future.
Our shareholder is committed to support the strategic plan we have designed for the next years and we have a package of projects for products, solutions and services to reach our vision and commit to our mission.

What can we expect from Secop in 2021? Do you have new products and solutions coming to the market?

Fabricio Possamai, Chief R&D Officer:
We are working on various projects to release to market new models and platforms for commercial AC applications and battery-driven DC applications:
For Stationary Cooling we will introduce a new inverter with additional features, launch the SLVE18CN propane variable speed compressor, the biggest cooling capacity in single piston variable speed, designed and optimized for light commercial R290 high-efficiency applications, a new platform for R290 light commercial applications where we introduced all our knowledge and experience in designing efficient and robust compressors, and new models for the U.S. market at medium cooling capacity range.
And other projects are under planning for 2022 and 2023.
In the Mobile Cooling segment, we will update all electronic drivers bringing better performance and introduce the BDnano, a new platform with 30% less weight and 30% more autonomy by performance that will leverage the performances of our solutions in a more compact size. Our customers are currently testing prototypes of the new solution and the feedback is consistently positive. Besides the significant reduction of volume, we could reduce the noise significantly, so this new product will offer premium advantages for the design of automotive solutions.

So, to conclude, you are celebrating the 10th year of Secop brand with a new company indeed, can you summarize what you expect 2021 to be for Secop?

Dr. Philipp von Stietencron, Chief Commercial Officer:
In 2020 we celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Secop brand. It has been a long journey for this company with various changes throughout the years, and that coupled with this new reorganization, where we re-established the core focus of the company, we are now back on track and fully committed to the core business. We are proud of our brand, even if we have to celebrate this anniversary in a complicated year that does not allow physical events to take place.
2020 has been a year with big transformations and all the steps we have developed and executed will come into effect in 2021, starting the year fresh with a new corporate structure and a great team making things going forward. We will have stable and high-end operations concentrated in two main production sites in Slovakia and China. With our revitalized strategy we set a clear focus on light commercial and mobile cooling applications, focusing our efforts to provide high-end quality products and services to our customers.
In 2021 we will see the effects and benefits of all the projects executed in 2020, and we will roll out very interesting new products in 2021. And there is much more to come in the years ahead, especially in 2022. So, 2021 will be the year when we fortify our position as a market leader in the light commercial and DC-powered refrigeration market.


"We work together with our customers to develop strong partnerships and offer solutions that support our customers. With our revitalized strategy, we set a clear focus on light commercial and mobile cooling applications, focusing our efforts to provide high-end quality products and services to our customers."


"All the transformations seen during the last twelve months are part of our strategic plan to relocate our valuable resources to our light commercial and mobile cooling developments for our customers."


"As a technology leader, Secop can support our partners in the transition to new refrigerants as well as new efficient systems. We are working on various projects to release to market new models and platforms for commercial AC applications and battery-driven DC applications."


"With our structure, we aim to get to know our customers closely to better understand their needs. We view ourselves as a solution provider, solving specific problems together with the customer as our partner."


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