Automate Pro Europe speak with Christian Stoffers, Head of Sales EMEA for Basler at VISION Stuttgart about handling a stormy last 18 months, its new developments and the future.
Christian Stoffers has been the Head of Sales in the EMEA region for Basler AG since October 2020. Before joining Basler, he worked as a Divisional Manager for Alfa Laval (Mid Europe region), a leading global provider of products in the areas of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling based in Lund, Sweden.
How have the last 12 months been?
The last 12 months have been really exciting and challenging. It was like sailing a boat in stormy weather. Basler is not the smallest boat, which has helped us during these times, but there have been many challenges. Our customers can tell you if we did well. However, I feel, that we had a good handle on the situation, considering everything was so unexpected. Our position as a sizeable company helped us in having good access to the main players in the semiconductor industry, in order to secure the best possible share for our products, and therefore also for our customers.
How is the crisis now? Are we coming out of it?
That’s the $1,000,000 question. Everybody hopes that it will be over in the next few months, but you can be sceptical about that. We’re still confident that we can keep our steady course even in this stormy weather.
How does it feel to be back at VISION?
Fantastic! It’s the first time for me at VISION but I’ve been to several trade shows and it’s really great to meet people again. In the morning I was a bit concerned about how many visitors would attend the show, but then people came storming in and somebody just said to me, “We need to make sure that we have more salespeople next time”. What fantastic news that is.
What products are you showing here at VISION?
As Basler, we are coming from a strong base as a camera manufacturer, but we have evolved into what we call a “toolbox supplier” with lenses, interfaces and cables. At our booth, you can see, that we now want to go one step further. We will show how we can put all components together to develop complete computer vision solutions for our customers. A key to this is our SDK pylon, which is widely used in the market and seamlessly connects all the components. And now, the pylon is being extended to include further image processing abilities.
What developments are you most excited about?
We want to understand what the vision problems of our customers are in order to develop both hardware and software towards that. If you look at our CXP-12 CoaXPress portfolio, we have launched a camera with combinable components like an interface card/framegrabber, lenses and cables. It fits together and comes with our promise to the market to have the best price-performance ratio.
From a sales perspective, what are the opportunities for Basler over the next 2-3 years?
I still believe there is enormous market potential. More customers will come as machine vision systems become more cost-effective. They will be used in areas where they have not been used until now. Many computer vision systems will also transform into embedded solutions. There has already been a lot of interest from customers in this area, but this will increase.
I also believe that in the future customers will buy more from a single source. This way, they can get more support and also be sure that the components of the system are compatible with each other.
Are you feeling positive about the next 12 months?
I am very excited about it. I know it’s going to be tough and challenging because we know that our customers are struggling with this supply situation just like we are. Our top priority is to keep our customers operational. At the same time, it’s also a good opportunity to differentiate from the competition.
We still see clouds and maybe another storm coming, but I’m confident we have a good team and are well-positioned to weather it.
You can find more information about Basler on its website.