Schmidt + Clemens (S+C), the German stainless steel specialist founded in 1879, committed at an early stage to the internationalisation of its business operation, founding its first foreign subsidiary in Spain as long ago as 1974. As the world market leader in tube systems for applications in the petrochemicals industry, it is a factor of major importance to S+C to be near to its markets. So the logical response to the growth in the markets of Asia was to establish a production company in Southeast Asia.
“We ran through various possibilities at that time,” remembers Managing Partner and CEO Jan Schmidt-Krayer. “Finally, in the year 2000, we decided on Malaysia. The reasons for this choice were complex, but we were swayed above all by the political stability of the country.” Consequently, the first site of the Schmidt + Clemens Group was created in 2001 in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur.
However, S+C quickly realised that the leased capacities there were not sufficient to keep pace with the booming markets. In 2005, the company shifted to a more spacious premise in Shah Alam Industrial Park. Expiring tenancy agreements then made it necessary to embark on new planning. As the capacities at the second site had also become fully exhausted, it became necessary to start thinking about a completely new build. Before long, S+C soon came across the new industrial zone in Seremban, and it was here that the foundation stone was laid in 2014, already followed in 2015 by the inauguration of a new, state-of-the-art foundry for the production of stainless steel spun castings. Over 14 million euros were invested by S+C in Seremban.
The cooperation with the official authorities involved in Malaysia was consistently excellent and conducted in a spirit of mutual trust. Construction of the new plant in Seremban was also made possible through the outstanding support provided by the country’s principal investment promotion agency, MIDA.
“Politically speaking, Malaysia is very stable and has an excellent infrastructure, but on top of that, the energy costs there are significantly lower than they are in Germany,” says Schmidt-Krayer, explaining why S+C decided to invest in Malaysia.
Today, the S+C plant in Malaysia employs around 100 people and is set to grow further in the coming years. “In Malaysia, we find welleducated and qualified employees who are also able to speak English,” adds production director Dominic Otte with regard to Malaysia’s benefits.
In the field of initial and further training, the German family-owned business works in very close cooperation with the authorities in Malaysia. As well as numerous internal training programs, such as technical seminars and training in occupational health and safety, and soft skills, S+C also offers the opportunity for external seminars. In cooperation with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), S+C offers numerous other training possibilities. The HR leadership in Seremban also attaches great importance to the National Dual Training System (NDTS). Modelled on the German system, this combines in-company training with external learning. This is offered in cooperation with Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) Pedas and the Government Department of Skills Development. In January 2019, the first participants from Schmidt + Clemens Asia were able to successfully complete their vocational training.
Today, S+C has two companies in Malaysia. Since 2016, in addition to the production facility in Seremban, the Lindlar-based family enterprise has also been operating a service bureau in Johor Bahru. The operations in Johor Bahru is responsible for looking after the petrochemical industry customers who decide to avail themselves of the S+C installation service. “This is where our project engineers are highly successful in planning and organising the dismantling and installation of tube systems for the entire Southeast Asian market,” Jan Schmidt-Krayer explains.
Today, S+C is the world market leader in tube systems for the petrochemical industry, guaranteeing its customers throughout the world a uniformly high standard. It is, therefore, all the more important that the educational system in Malaysia provides a good foundation for this. S+C also participates in a support programme for students from Malaysia, which is coordinated through the MIDA.
The Schmidt + Clemens Group is a leading producer of stainless steel components and provider of services for plant operators and machine manufacturers. Its principal sales markets are petrochemicals, energy engineering, separation technology, industrial furnace construction and the pumps industry. The Schmidt + Clemens Group employs over 1,000 people worldwide (including around 600 in Germany), and in addition to the parent plant in Germany, has production facilities in Spain, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Saudi-Arabia.