From a one-man company to a global player
From Achern throughout the entire world: In its 175-year history, KASTO has developed into an internationally successful company. Around the globe, a close-knit network of branches and agencies ensures that the sawing and storage technology specialist company is always close to the markets and its customers and can offer fast and individual service.
As early as the 1970s, KASTO was one of the most innovative suppliers of metal sawing and storage technology for industry and trade. The solutions of the family business from Achern in Baden-Wuertemberg are in demand – not only on the home market, but also beyond the national borders. KASTO therefore relies on internationalisation in order to provide a high standard of service to customers and markets outside Germany. This was a pivotal step to ensure the future success of the manufacturer.
The first step abroad led to France
In 1977 KASTO founded its first branch in neighbouring France. The company's current main site in Obernai, Alsace, is only a few kilometres away from the German headquarters – this makes the general organisation easier and ensures short distances. Target industries included steel trading, window construction and the aviation industry. The new branch quickly became a success – and today KASTO France has 30 employees, who serve around 4,000 customers in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and North Africa, achieving a considerable proportion of KASTO's steadily increasing foreign turnover.
A short time later KASTO dared to cross the pond and opened another branch in Pittsburgh, USA. The fluctuating economic development in the USA resulted in this site experiencing both highs and lows – and the "Steel Belt", the region around the city with its then booming steel industry became a "Rust Belt" in times of crisis. Since the end of the 2000s, however, Pittsburgh has been on the rise again, with numerous technology companies settling in and around the city. The American KASTO Inc. with around 40 employees and an extensive spare parts warehouse is also the contact for KASTO users in Canada. In 2018, the company inaugurated a new showroom with a Technology Centre in Chicago. Among other things, customers can see machines and digital solutions in advance there and carry out test cuts.
Time for the island!
At the beginning of the 1990s, many companies invested in the new German federal states due to strong demand, and KASTO also established a plant in Schalkau, Thuringia. In 2003, the company also positioned itself on the British market with its own subsidiary on the island. Today KASTO UK's 13 employees provide support for customers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and the Middle East. This means that the company's geographical and corporate stance is broad enough to cushion the economic risks of the UK's impending EU withdrawal. Nevertheless, nationally oriented tendencies like Brexit are not particularly welcomed by an international company like KASTO.
When KASTO took its first steps on to the Asian continent in 2015, the company realised that protectionism, legal restrictions and administrative hurdles were among the greatest challenges on its route to becoming a global player. Starting a company in a country like China is a very lengthy process. From legal forms to the search for personnel, and from insurance to local legislation, there are so many aspects that are completely different than those in Germany. Nevertheless, KASTO succeeded in establishing itself in Asia, opening a branch in Singapore in 2015, and another in Taicang, China in 2018. Customers benefited from a much faster and more flexible service – and from employees who were familiar with the respective countries and cultures and who spoke the local language.
Globally successful cooperation
2016 saw KASTO move into less exotic, but equally attractive regions, with the establishment of a branch in Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Although it is not far from Achern to Switzerland, it is still very advantageous to have a presence in the country, because it facilitates faster customer service and the speedier supply of spare parts. Swiss customers are also pleased to hear the KASTO service staff speak in Swiss German, which is the national language. At this point in time, KASTO now has its own subsidiaries in six countries. However, no more will be added in the foreseeable future. This is also due to the excellent cooperation with numerous independent KASTO agencies in many countries of the world – from Norway to South Africa and from Brazil to New Zealand. The oldest of these is located in Japan and has existed since 1965. The company regularly invites all its representatives to training courses at its headquarters, which then hosts cultures from all over the world in its main plant at the edge of the Black Forest.
Over the years, much courage and commitment have paved the way for KASTO to become a global player. Nowadays, saws and storage systems from Achern can be found in every corner of the world: on La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, for example, or on the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Trinidad, on the Greek Cyclades, in Namibia, Oman and even New Caledonia in the Pacific. These KASTO products sometimes have to deal with extreme environmental conditions in Finnish Lapland, for example, in the mountains of Nepal or in the Sahara in Algeria – and this can make delivery, installation and of course operation challenging at times. However, the high quality and robust designs of the KASTO solutions ensure that they always carry out their tasks reliably – anywhere in the world.
For the future, the manufacturer has set itself the goal of continually strengthening its international locations and expanding the constantly increasing share of foreign sales. KASTO sees a lot of potential here – in regions like Asia and the USA, the demand for intelligent solutions for sawing and storage technology is high, since automation is not as advanced there as it is in much of Europe. A strong presence in these promising markets is the basic prerequisite for KASTO to support local users in the best possible way and thus continue to set its course for worldwide success.