The exciting venture was necessary for the BERNSTEIN group to grow its global presence. For the present members of the board, consisting of Nicole Bernstein (chairwoman), Achim Bernstein (director) and Christian Schumacher (director) it was the right step at the right time from today's perspective.
When BERNSTEIN started trading in China in September 2005, it served primarily Chinese and Asian customers in the form of imported goods.
With a young and extremely motivated local staff, and with the active support of the parent company, a manageable switching contacts assembly production was established, while individual parts as well as most of the switching contacts, sensors and enclosures were still imported.
After ten years in business, the Chinese market still offers great potential. Although the pricing pressure gets stronger through local competitors, the demand for quality German products is still strong.
Thanks to the remarkably good direction of the long time Managing Director in China, Mr Uwe Birnbaum, BERNSTEIN AG decided at the end of last year to significantly expand production in China and to increase the sales activities.
To this end, a new production and office building has been built in Taicang. In order to finish the construction and relocation work as quickly as possible, a detailed plan had to be prepared by a German structural engineer situated in Taicang. This was also supported by the Bernstein family and the long time Production Manager of BERNSTEIN AG, Mr Bernd Borcherding.
Barely ten months elapsed between decision making at the end of 2014 and the move into the new building in September 2015.
The new surface area is almost triple the size of the previous facility, with over 3.500 square metres. In addition to the extended assembly of switching contacts, BERNSTEIN also plans to produce enclosures and suspension systems for the Chinese market. This development mainly relates to investments in new plant and machinery which were partly imported from Europe.
In the run-up to the move, attention was mainly focused on maintaining the existing team. As with all BERNSTEIN companies, experienced and highly qualified employees are an important part of the company’s success in China. The manager responsible for finance and personnel, Mrs Sarah Yang, can say with pride: "By having conversations with employees and integrating them before the move, we have not lost any team members. On the contrary, the fact that they all worked and helped, meant our team became even closer."
The relocation itself went smoothly, meaning that BERNSTEIN was able to serve its customers again after just three days in the new manufacturing plant.
Uwe Birnbaum: "It is our BERNSTEIN strategy to reinforce the headquarters in Germany and to serve the local markets simultaneously. Previously, this couldn't be sufficiently achieved by us due to the shipments from Germany."
With the move into the new production and office facilities, and the expansion of capacity, BERNSTEIN endeavours to supply its customers with high quality products in the Asian region within a very short time.
The new facilities were officially inaugurated in an on-the-spot ceremony on 30 October 2015.