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Meet Thomas Kröger: Business Development Director Germany, Switzerland & Austria

“The German market is very mature and internationally focused. Quality and reliability is extremely important and that is why Bever Innovation’s products continued to be so well received.”

 

 

 

 

 

-Thomas Kröger-

After completing a degree at the University of Hamburg in business administration and economics I took up a position at Reynolds Aluminium, which later became Alcoa Architectural Products. After two years working in the aluminium mill in Hamburg I moved to France where I was responsible for building the market for a specific product, which was aimed at the architectural market. Whilst developing this market I soon realised that there was potential for the product in the corporate identity and design market for cladding of car showrooms and petrol stations, particularly canopy fascia cladding.

After a brief break from the signage industry, I found myself a new challenge at Euramax, a company specialising in premium coated aluminium products where I was responsible for the European signage business with clients including Shell. I was there for five years before being approached by two of my customers, who were looking for a new set-up in Europe. I helped to set up a partnership between BORSI/IMM network and Hexagon and they asked me if I would take up the role of Sales Director, which I did for four years. During my time in the signage industry, I gained a lot of experience building markets for various products in Europe and created many connections, so when Bever Innovations approached me to develop their German-speaking market beyond their centralised contracts with MOCs it seemed like the perfect fit.

At Bever Innovations
The German market is very mature and internationally-minded with a real focus on the quality of products. When I first started working for Bever Innovations seven years ago we entered the market with the LUCI Series LED Under Canopy lighting series. Bever had successfully secured contracts with international companies but recognized the need to adopt a more local approach to create business relationships with the small to medium-sized retailers in the region. The price of the LUCI lighting was often a bit more than the price of our competitors but we encourage our customers to look at the lifetime cost of the product, not just the initial investment. As well as being a reliable, quality product the LUCI series can also help customers reduce energy consumption without compromising on light quality.

The LUCI has been exceptionally well received in the region and because of the confidence in our products we are seeing increased demand for both our traditional LED price displays and our new InMo LED screens, which I believe will continue to grow in popularity.

Bever Innovations is a young, open company with a lot of ideas and flexibility in creating new products. The company is very internationally-minded but what really sets us apart is the willingness to adapt to the needs of local markets.


> If you would like to contact Thomas Kröger, click here.

 

Meet Bart Engels: International Business Development Manager

‘I love technology and one of the things I most enjoy is connecting our clients with innovations that can enhance their business’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first began working in the lighting industry 15 years ago, with a company called Lighting Partner, which was later acquired by US company Lighting Science Group in 2008. Much of my work involved store and office lighting and I had the opportunity to work on some really creative aesthetic projects. I was at the company for eight years and during that period LED started to emerge as a functional lighting solution. We started to replace halogen and incandescent lighting with LEDs and this came with its own set of challenges. LED took off really quickly and it was exciting to be a part of the change.

My first foray into the fuel station industry came when we were asked by BP to come up with a canopy lighting solution for their fuel stations. From this, we also secured contracts with a number of smaller retailers in the Netherlands. Lighting Science Group eventually pulled out of the Netherlands to focus its efforts in the US. I, along with one of my colleagues, contacted Bever Innovations about some stock we had remaining and this conversation led to them offering us both a job. I finished working for Lighting Science on Friday and started my role with Bever Innovations the following Monday.

At Bever Innovations
“There is so much more to lighting than turning it on and off. I like to work with clients to explore innovative ways to use lighting more effectively.”

Our EOS technology, which allows customers to monitor and manage multiple sites remotely via the cloud, is huge for Bever Innovations at the moment and has been driven by customer demand. We are also witnessing greater demand in lighting for aesthetic purposes. My background in-store lighting has helped me to advise clients on innovative lighting techniques, that not only looks great, but can help drive product sales.

With the rise of electric vehicles, meaning customers are spending more time on-site, there is now a greater opportunity for LED screens. Our totem-based LED screen not only displays fuel prices but it can also be used to show promotions and offers to drive in-store sales.

My role at Bever Innovations also involves finding opportunities in new markets. We already supply products to over 100 countries to clients including Shell, BP, Q8, and Total. There are however still areas of opportunity especially in the Middle East, which we see as a really exciting area for growth in the coming years.

In this industry, no two markets are the same and each has its own unique set of requirements. Innovation is in our name and as a company, we are big enough that customers can feel confident in our ability to deliver, but small enough to remain flexible and to be able to quickly respond to the unique needs of our markets.

> If you would like to contact Bart Engels, click here.

Thibaud Hacquard, Sales Director Africa

‘In Africa, a fuel station is more than just that, it is a central hub for the community.
Bever Innovations’ equipment and solutions help retailers to provide their customers the highest standards of services by creating a welcoming and safe environment in the petrol station’.

After completing a Master’s degree in Business Management at IAE Lyon, I initially found myself working in the finance industry. But as I was not totally fulfilled in my job and my attraction for Africa was getting stronger, I decided to look for any opportunity which would enable me to relocate to the continent.
I made my first steps in the fuel retail industry with Tanzania Petroleum Services (TPS), a French-owned company specializing in electro/mechanical services related to hydraulics and petroleum equipment.

Thibaud Hacquard - Sales Director Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worked for Tanzania Petroleum Services for almost three years before I was offered a role with Tokheim. They asked me to join their Africa & Middle East team as Area Sales Manager where I was responsible for all business development and sales management activities of the full range of Tokheim products across the East African region including dispensing pumps, automated tank gauges, automation and fuel management systems.
After working for Tokheim for three years I joined the Bever Innovations international sales team for a further challenge.

At Bever Innovations
Bever Innovations is a company driven by innovation and quality. The reasonable size of the company provides a lot of advantages. The communication with the head office in the Netherlands is permanent and easy and there is direct contact between the sales team and the top management. It means decisions are taken very quickly and as a result we are highly reactive to the changing needs of the market.
Petrol stations in Africa often go beyond just being a fuel station and are instead more of a community hub, particularly in remote areas. Bever’s LED equipment including under-canopy lighting, perimeter area lighting, shop and contour illumination work together to create a welcoming environment to attract customers to the forecourt and ensure they feel safe – particularly when refuelling at night.

The African market is very technology-focused, retailers and customers alike are keen to adopt the latest technology trends. Regional and national African oil companies have a wide range of products available on the local markets including cheap multipurpose LED fixtures but more and more of them do not compromised with quality and reliability of the equipment they invest in. The quality of Bever Innovation’s products is second to none and we have strong local partners in place to ensure the proper aftercare of our equipment. Recently we launched the InMo dynamic LED screen, which can be easily incorporated into price totems, using modular parts. The screen itself serves as a price display, information terminal and marketing tool in one. The product has attracted a lot of interest from customers in the region and we are already working on installing the first few screens in the market.

>> If you would like to contact Thibaud, click here.

Marnick Blom, Account Manager at Bever Innovations’ Fuel division

‘I really enjoy visiting customers, seeing their projects and building long-term customer relationships with them’

The petrol retail market is somewhat divided in 2020. Around 80% of fuel stations in the Netherlands and Belgium have now (wholly or partly) replaced their conventional luminaries with energy-saving, effective LED lighting. In this regard, long-term relationships have been forged with installation engineers as well as with suppliers, including with Bever Innovations. We have been active in the petrol retail market since as far back as 2009 and have now built a loyal customer base encompassing such firms as Shell, BP, Q8 and Total, as well as a wide array of smaller players.

Portait Marninck Blom

Petrol station lighting to the next level

As an account manager, I am the pivotal figure between our customers and the internal organisation. Together with my team, I am responsible for building, maintaining and continuing to expand customer relationships in the Netherlands and Belgium. I am on the road virtually every day, selling individual products and/or complete projects. What’s more, I actively contribute my ideas to ensure that the lighting and related products are taken to the next level at our customers’ places of business. In that regard, we not only focus on numbers of luminaries and lux levels but increasingly also on intelligent controls, management and maintenance, preventing light pollution and boosting (or continuing to boost) customer satisfaction—things our existing technologies enable us to home in on optimally. For example, by integrating the Bever Cubiq, Ambiente and Luci Series LED luminaries, Bever pricing displays and Bever InMo outdoor LED screens into a single network and managing them as such. Though also through meticulous data analysis, with the status of the Bever (lighting) products, the energy consumption, any faults and/or the information on the pricing displays being rendered transparent 24/7. Thus creating opportunities for 100% predictive maintenance as well as further enhancing both the visibility and safety at the fuel stations. This is highly appreciated not only by customers refuelling their vehicles but also by fuel station managers.

Building long-term customer relationships

I’ve been working at Bever Innovations since 2012. I studied Commercial Economics at what was then called Hogeschool Zeeland in Vlissingen. I subsequently worked for DHL for a year, where I was engaged in telephone acquisition. Instead of hard-selling, I’m now involved in soft-selling activities, which is much more my style. I really enjoy visiting customers, seeing their projects and building long-term customer relationships with them. My ambition for the next few years is to see to it in conjunction with the rest of the team that Bever Innovations becomes and remains the number one party in the Netherlands and Belgium when it comes to LED products. Quite a challenge, and one I really enjoy devoting my time to each and every day.