In each of the last two years, FSM AG has been able to report record sales - despite the ongoing pandemic and component crisis. For the year 2022, an increase of sakes by 10.3 % is planned. The sales drivers are customer-specific developments in the field of measurement technology and battery technology. However, the prospect is clouded by the ongoing crisis on the component market.
Reasons for the planned growth in 2022 are new battery management systems and measurement technology projects for the ventilation market. These products are used in highly demanded systems. Examples in the field of measurement technology include mobile air filter units, stationary and mobile ventilation systems, and clean rooms for the production of semiconductor parts. Applications in the field of battery management systems include e-bikes or battery storage for home applications. Konrad Molz, CEO of FSM AG assesses the situation as follows: "The prospects for the future are good. We have the highest order backlog since FSM AG has been founded in 1989. However, we are having difficulties processing some of the orders. There is a shortage of components."
There is no end to the shortage in the component part sector. If the pandemic in the Western region seems to be slowing down, the situation in Asia has worsened again since the beginning of the year. Lockdowns in industrial metropolises such as Shanghai and Shenzhen are severely disrupting the global market for electronic components. Although the Chinese government has now reacted and allowed 666 "essential" companies to continue their production in a so-called "closed loop management", these companies are also dependent on various suppliers who are not among the select group of companies. The result is line stoppages. Recently, pictures have circulated of workers playing cards or sports next to idle machines. China's chip production decreased by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2022.
In practice, these processes primarily affect purchasing, production planning and development. "We often don't know if and when a component is coming until it's actually there," says Konrad Molz. This makes it difficult to plan production in advance. Purchasing and development work closely together to procure alternative parts and integrate them into the existing design. "At this point, our agile organizational structure helps us. In our interdisciplinary teams, developers usually sit right next to commercial staff from purchasing and production planning. Everyone knows about the critical components and works closely on solutions. This minimizes friction losses and saves communication effort," says Molz. However, it has already been possible to profit from the component crisis. Customers who currently use competitor products that are not available have switched to FSM products in the past. Thus, it is demonstrated impressively that adaptability and agility can be decisive competitive advantages.