March 8, 2023

VIEWPOINT 2023: Joe Booth, CEO, Altus

VIEWPOINT 2023: Joe Booth, CEO, Altus
Joe Booth, CEO, Altus
How was business in 2022 and what do you expect for the industry in 2023?
2022 was the best year that Altus has had on record and the most successful year to date as a group, with our sister company Danutek.

Last year every region installed more units than ever before. This is partly driven by the broader portfolio strength and the fantastic performance of many of our new top-tier suppliers.

In 2022 we focused on high quality pre-sales and post-sales support for customers, as they have a significant influence on customer's journey. We understand that investment in their growth makes a difference. This is why we appointed a number of skilled personnel for both the pre and post-sales teams to ensure customer success. This included appointing a new UK and Ireland Operations Director who has leveraged all of his prior knowledge and experience to offer the highest standards and oversee all after-sales operational elements of the business’s strategy to lead Altus on its impressive growth trajectory.

Another area that has put Altus on top is our ability to act as a sound board and support samples validation, demos and trials to establish which solution would best fit a company's needs and budget. This value add we provide, has not only assisted customers in their investment confidence, but has allowed us to certify our equipment in real-world terms.

By focusing on how much value we could deliver on every aspect of customer interaction, we have built higher customer satisfaction, trusted ongoing support and retention.

Seeing the progression of Ireland for Altus has been one our biggest success stories not just in 2022, but in the company’s history. It is an area that I am most proud, and we have only just begun.

Due to our determination and investment in the region, we have been rewarded with repeat business, and new projects from significant accounts that have never worked with us before and who needed that level of local support when choosing a partner.

I think the outlook for the electronics industry in 2023 is pretty healthy and market conditions will be more manageable. An influence of growth is the near-shoring and re-shoring of production to the UK. This has created regional supply chains and reduced the logistics burden.

Government policy to support manufacturing and Brexit have also had an effect, with many of our partners seeing this as a chance to grasp the opportunity that comes with the changes rather than be victim to them.

Due to the super deduction and tax relief for those investing in capital equipment, the UK Government is helping companies to increase manufacturing GDP and supporting sites to become more profitable with investment incentives.

Although supply chain issues are starting to improve, CEMs still need orders from their end customers further into the future to secure component parts for production. This in turn gives CEMs a clearer picture of future cash flows, meaning that they can finance more equipment now than when their order book was less determined.

Because of this change Altus supplied equipment in 2022 to alleviate traceability issues around supply chain issues. I predict that this will continue in 2023.

We are forecasting more of the same growth for Altus and continued impact from the above points, but are unsure if this will be reflective of the whole market regionally. There are many unknowns and different factors that will affect business, including finding a solution and end to the war in Ukraine to tensions China, the USA and Taiwan. All of which will have a direct impact on controlling inflation and the global economy.

Will you be launching new products or services in 2023?
This year we will consolidate on the equipment in our portfolio. Our portfolio is already incredibly strong, so we plan to become masters in all areas and maximize on the opportunities we are creating.

Our suppliers do release new products regularly and we are looking forward to Productronica, when many companies launch innovative equipment for the first time.

Are you able to hire enough qualified employees? What could the industry do to develop a larger pool of skilled workers?
People are the most important asset to a company. We have invested a considerable amount of time to vet new starters and have them vet us for alignment.

Because we have invested time in growing our team, we have been incredibly fortunate with our recent hires. They are all in close alignment with our company objectives. I am proud of every single hire we have made in the last several years and now all of them are significant assets to our organisation.

We feel that we contribute a lot of value to our staff in their career development by offering in-depth training and opportunities. We believe in developing the next generation of engineers with next generation skills. Being a millennial and understanding the gulf of talent lost during the outsourcing period to Asia and Europe. I see there is a huge opportunity for British and Irish youngsters that come into our industry and have hunger and determination to take up the space left by skilled workers leaving.

It would be great to see more funding for apprenticeships and further practical courses available as an alternative route to university so that we can create more bright minds in the future.

Almost everything we use today contains electronics. Creating the next technologies that will influence the world from the UK and Ireland should be a goal that all we should push to achieve.

Has your company travel returned to pre-pandemic levels or are you still limiting travel to customer sites or industry conferences in 2023?
My biggest learning throughout this period is that time is my most valuable asset and that is the same for many. Flexible hours, work life balance, hobbies, friends and family... all have time creation in common.

Yes, it has returned more or less. Our engineers didn't stop visiting sites, but now it is even more regular and we can work with customers’ in-person which is always a preference. This is particularly true for new clients as it is very important to be at a customer site to understand their production environment.

We have all learned that our pre-covid travel was probably extreme. We have discovered that a Team's call is more time effective, and we now have a good balance between face-to-face interactions, cost and time savings saving and meeting efficiencies.

Joe Booth, CEO
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