12 February 2015

Hannover Messe 2015

Text: Franziska Porsch

The Hannover Messe first took place just after the end of the Second World War. Since then, it has been held every year and gone on to become the world’s largest industrial trade fair. With its theme of “Integrated Industry – Join the Network”, the 2015 event anticipates the challenges the next phase in industrial production – Industry 4.0 – will present.

With digitally networked plant equipment, latest-generation industrial robots and IT-based automation solutions among the exhibits, the 2015 Hannover Messe offers a foretaste of the factory of tomorrow.

Every year, Hannover Messe features one partner country and, in 2015, it will once again be India. The country’s economy is still among the world’s fastest growing and Germany is its most important trading partner within the EU, chiefly exporting capital goods such as plant to the subcontinent. The show thus offers German and international exhibitors the promise of potential new sales, while giving Indian exhibitors potential access to new global markets.

We talked to Marc Siemering, Hannover Messe’s senior vice president, about the rationale behind the partnership and about India’s industry.


India has been the fair’s partner country once before, in 2006. What has changed since then? What led you to partner with the same country again after such a relatively short time?


One key change is the fact that Indian businesses are now more aware of their role in global industrial supply chains. Today, India sees itself as an active player in globalisation. India wants to bolster its exports and prove its capabilities as a partner that can take on commitments in all areas of the industrial supply chain – from high-tech research to joint marketing on international markets. For our Indian partners, Hannover Messe is a global platform on which to demonstrate this to a worldwide industry audience.



Where in your opinion do the strengths of Indian industry lie?


There are various things that we will be greatly impressed by in Hanover: the ability and determination of India’s family-run businesses to adjust to the increased expectations of the global market. India wants to change to meet the needs of international markets. A strong customer focus, flexibility and the ability to adapt international technology trends are the basis for India’s industrial dynamism.



Which industrial sector offers the most promise in terms of cooperation between German and Indian firms?


Indian industry has already captured part of the supply chain in many areas. Just look at the automotive industry. As the partner country of Hannover Messe 2015, India will be inviting firms to cooperate in the energy and energy efficiency sectors. Both countries’ governments will be using the show to promote partnerships in this field. As a global IT powerhouse, India is also well equipped to have its say on the subject of Industry 4.0, something that will be apparent at the Business Summit and in our significantly expanded Digital Factory area.


What can German industry learn from a country like India?


I think there are quite a few areas of common ground: the lasting, long-term way in which its family-run businesses take on new skills and markets. And, of course, I’d mention the flexibility Indian businesses show in operating in a huge variety of business cultures around the world. Indian businesses also make fine partners in the world’s hard-to-access markets.



Is it also about training potential?


That is indeed one of the most important aspects of German-Indian cooperation and one that has regularly come up for discussion during India-related events at recent shows. India offers a simply inexhaustible talent pool. Tens of thousands of engineering graduates enter local and international employment markets every year. But it’s also about offering in-company further training for these resources. German firms – such as our exhibitors Festo and Lapp – have a great deal of positive experience in the recruitment and training of skilled workers from India.



When choosing exhibitors, do you also consider ethical aspects such as working conditions, environmental protection and welfare provision?


The most powerful driver for the fulfilment of international environmental and welfare standards are the standards that industrial clients demand of Indian firms. To do business on the European market, you have to comply with its requirements and certifications. With their international training, industrial companies’ buyers are able to verify this far more effectively and efficiently than we can as trade show organisers. But we can also rely on the fact that our Indian partners are interested in only having firms exhibit at Hannover Messe who are looking for lasting success – something that presupposes compliance with social welfare standards.



Does design play a role in these partnerships and, if so, in what way?


“Make in India” – our partner country’s open invitation – can definitely be applied to industrial product design too. I’m looking forward to seeing how India’s industry will shape up against the international competition in this area. So far, every partner country at Hannover Messe has succeeded in using this global shop window as a platform for reaching clients and partners via excellent design.


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