Adding value with ceramics

How Henri Steinmetz is setting a new course for CeramTec.

CEO Henri Steinmetz with a statue of an artificial hip joint at CeramTec’s headquarters in Plochingen. The company is a world leader in specialized ceramics for medical applications. Photo: Porsche Consulting.

CeramTec has restructured itself within a very short period of time to meet two clear goals: lower complexity and higher value. The company is now aiming to lead the market.

At first glance everything looked good. CeramTec, an international specialist in technical ceramics, was posting profits and offering a broad range of high-performance products. This long-standing company based in the southern German town of Plochingen had not seen any reason to make changes for quite some time. But even the best engineering expertise is not enough in itself to guarantee success on the world’s markets. When Henri Steinmetz became CeramTec’s Chief Executive Officer in March of 2016, he proceeded to take a close look at how work was done at the company – and saw dark clouds on the horizon. “We were in a very good position, and had a sound foundation. But it was also clear that we would need to evolve.” And prompt action was called for. The sole shareholder, the Cinven private equity company, wanted to see a marked increase in value in the near future.

From technology champion to market leader

Steinmetz wants to shift the company’s leadership from technology to the market. “What is the point of making the best product A when the market is looking for product B?” asks this experienced manager. CeramTec was used to having customers come with their own ideas of what its products should be like. But now this Swabian company has to seize the initiative in order not to cede ground to the competition. “We need to better understand what our international customers will be wanting in the future and to fulfill precisely these wishes – no more and no less,” says Steinmetz.

Read the full article here: Adding value with ceramics