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Dr. Martin Leibfritz in an interview with the magazine for surface technology on the annual outlook for 2024

Despite an all-round satisfying summary for 2023, Dr. Martin Leibfritz is critical of the global economic situation and analyzes developments in the area of sustainability as well as the challenges on the labour market.

In an interview published on 30/01/2024 by mo (Magazin für Oberflächentechnik) with the CEO of the Helmut Fischer Group Dr. Martin Leibfritz, questions about the course of 2023 as well as expectations and challenges, perspectives and opportunities for the coming year 2024 are discussed.

You can find the original interview in German at: oberflaeche.de/trends-und-herausforderungen-2024/helmut-fischer


English translation

How would you sum up the year 2023?

"Overall, 2023 fully met our expectations in terms of incoming orders and turnover. Nevertheless, customers have shown a tendency to be less willing to make major investments and are looking for opportunities to postpone them until better economic times. Geopolitical and therefore also economic uncertainty is currently noticeable around the world. We therefore expect demand to be subdued in 2024 and do not anticipate a repeat of the record years 2021 and 2022."


What role do developments in the energy sector play for your company?

"We welcome the various approaches to new technologies because we can directly influence the quality of these products with our measurement solutions. Personally, however, I find it rather problematic to see electrification per se as the ideal green solution. Only a holistic approach that considers the entire life cycle of these solutions can be the right choice here. The economy will be adversely affected if politicians continue to pursue isolated optimizations without considering Germany as a business location as a whole or the complete life cycle assessment of alternative technologies."


What are your expectations for 2024 in terms of energy prices?

"We do not currently see any problems due to energy shortages, as we largely supply our production facilities with photovoltaic energy. Regarding the development of electricity prices, we hope that prices will largely normalize - ideally to an industrial electricity price in order to improve global competitiveness again."


What are your expectations for this year in terms of general economic development, both at European and global level? What do you expect specifically for your company's areas of activity?

"Unfortunately, the various trouble spots are having a noticeably negative impact on the economic development of individual countries and entire regions. In the interests of sustainable customer supply, this once again means that we need to strive for comprehensive precautionary concepts for our supply chains and focus on local production and sufficient diversification in order to best compensate for dependencies on submarkets."


How do you expect the labor market to develop in the coming year?

"Generational change and the shortage of skilled workers pose major challenges for mid-sized enterprises in particular. Specifically for younger employees, the importance of long-term loyalty to the company is tending to decline. As a result, there are more frequent employee changes. The fact that jobs in medium-sized companies are often responsible for a much broader range of tasks with less redundancy can be both an advantage and a disadvantage compared to large corporations. Although we have more trouble filling positions with qualified specialists in a timely manner, we also offer applicants much greater scope for development. Knowledge transfer and onboarding must therefore not only be efficient, but first and foremost reliable and thorough. We attach great importance to this."

Press Picture_Dr. Martin Leibfritz

Dr. Martin Leibfritz, CEO der Helmut Fischer Gruppe