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INTERVIEW: CEO Alexander Pietschmann on Adam Hall Group's ambitious plans for the future

Laura  Barnes
INTERVIEW: CEO Alexander Pietschmann on Adam Hall Group's ambitious plans for the future

Adam Hall Group is well known in a number of MI and audio-related industries. With brands like LD Systems, Cameo, Gravity, Defender, Palmer and Adam Hall, the firm has a full-scale portfolio of pro audio, pro lighting, stage equipment and more.

When the MI industry hears the name, they may think of robust flight cases, wireless microphones and stands, while the pro-audio sector will associate the name with speakers and PA systems.

With over 40 years of organic growth, and now distributing more than 30 well-known brands, it’s no surprise that most people have a limited and fragmented picture of who Adam Hall Group is, what the firm does and why it does it.

With the appointment of John Kaukis as its new UK and Ireland sales manager, the announcement of a number of major investment plans, and more appointments to strengthen its global business development division, Adam Hall Group is undergoing a new positioning to underscore its identity and give a clearer picture of its key messages.
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MI Pro caught up with Adam Hall Group’s CEO Alexander Pietschmann to find out more about the manufacturer/distributor’s ambitious plans for the future:

Let’s start with a brief history of Adam Hall Group.

In 1975, Adam Hall founded Adam Hall Ltd in the English town of Southend-on-Sea, as a provider of high-quality, robust flight case fittings. Not long after in 1980, his then new partner and fellow Englishman, David Kirby, founded Adam Hall GmbH in a German town near Frankfurt am Main in 1980. After 13 years, Kirby took over the English Ltd in 1993 and turned the German GmbH in Neu-Anspach into the company’s headquarters.

By the early 2000s, the company started adding newly created own-brands to the portfolio, such as Defender Cable Protectors and LD Systems Pro Audio. Later, after 2010, came the introduction of more newly created own-brands like Cameo Light and Gravity Premium Stands. In addition to its own brands, the Adam Hall Group operates as a sales distribution partner for about a dozen other brands in the event tech industry.

The Group has recently announced major investments into two new building complexes. Can you tell us a bit about what this means for Adam Hall’s expansion plans?

The dynamic markets of our time require bold courage, mobility, innovation and high customer orientation. The realisation of the new Adam Hall Experience Center has been designed as “an open space for inspiration and creativity for employees, customers and partners”. The Experience Center will be the corporate-headquarter version of our local showroom concept in places like Barcelona, Poland, US and Singapore.

Adam Hall Group headquaters

In the UK, we are also keeping on a steady growth path and, under the direction of Area Manager Johan Gunsing, we have reinforced our sales team with John Kaukis, an experienced veteran in the MI retail business, and Oliver Webb, another experienced veteran in the area of commercial audio and lighting.

Further international market expansion via partnerships, such as those with the Musical Distributors Group in the United States; Siam Music Yamaha Ltd in Thailand; Great Wall Musical Instrument Co Ltd in China; and many others in Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, are clear indicators that the Adam Hall Group is growing also outside of Europe.

And with so much growth and expansion, especially in the last ten years, the company has become a full-scale manufacturer and provider of a wide range of event technology solutions.

The new 150,000 sq ft Logistics Park currently being built will help increase warehouse capacity for the wide range of pro audio, LED lighting, stage equipment and hardware we offer. In addition to this, we have a warehouse and logistics center in Ningbo, China.

Our new positioning underscores the identity of the Adam Hall Group and clearly expresses what drives us. Our customers’ needs are our main focus, and we want to provide professionals with innovative, user-friendly and affordable event technology solutions to enable more people to realise their creative ideas.

You’ve also launched a revamped B2B webshop. Have you seen an increase in online-based ordering? And do you think the MI industry is becoming more online-focused?

Yes, the way businesses conduct sales and marketing has changed radically just within the last decade and the steady increase in our online-based ordering has no doubt reflected this. But the more the world continues to connect more and more digitally, and the more convenient the access becomes, we are noticing a new trend: the never-to-be-underestimated value of creating and maintaining relationships in person. This has been one of our key cornerstones since day one in 1975.

The dynamic markets of our time require bold courage, mobility, innovation and high customer orientation.

Alexander Pietschmann, Adam Hall Group

And especially in the midst of an ever-growing digital evolution, we are convinced that when you’re working in a genuinely people-driven business, very much like the MI industry is, the human-touch must always stay in trend. Equally important to building trust by building strong brands, is maintaining meaningful relationships. These meaningful relationships help us also to employ the “customer as the driver” approach in our R&D and production, where closing the customer-feedback loop in the development cycle should always be an evergreen trend, whether in the MI Industry or anywhere else.

The recent investments are aimed at giving people a clearer picture of what Adam Hall is about. How has the Group been seen previously by the industry and what are the main messages you’d like people to know?

Given the more than 40-year history coupled with continued organic growth and expansion, it is not surprising we have a diffuse picture in the marketplace.

When people hear the name ‘Adam Hall’, one will associate it as a British manufacturer of flight cases, another as a German distributor, which chose an English name, others as a manufacturing company with individual brands like Defender, Cameo, LD Systems, Palmer and Gravity, and then there is Google, where an American ice-hockey player appears in the search results for the same name!

Adam Hall Group founder David Kirkby

Future-oriented innovations – created with passion by people for people – and increased focus on delivering customer-oriented solutions are just a few of the key messages, which the new positioning and new corporate design aims to transport. All of this gives customers, partners and the industry a clearer picture, and above all, an understanding of the values of the Adam Hall Group.

These are the key takeaways about the company today:

– Professionals in the field of event technology turn to the Adam Hall Group for innovative, user-friendly and affordable event technology solutions.

– We are a B2B manufacturing and distribution company offering products and solutions to retail, live rental, fixed-installation and industrial builders.

– With a full-scale portfolio of pro audio, pro lighting, stage equipment and flight case hardware, we offer more than 7,000 products under various brands in our B2B webshop.

– We have showrooms in Europe, Asia and America and will open our Experience Center at corporate headquarters on June 14th, 2018.

– A team of in-house designers and engineers are committed to listening to the needs of our customers and bringing customer-driven products to market.

– Our sales reps are known industry-wide for creating and keeping interpersonal relationships and close connections with customers and partners. And our service teams are without a doubt of the most highly regarded in the industry for being caring and accommodating to ensure customer satisfaction.

– Founder and Executive Chairman, David Kirby, sums it up well when he says, "My staff treats our customers in the same way I treat them," expressing how the values of authenticity, reliability, fairness, integrity and team spirit, which he instilled in the company starting from day one, still remain very much intact today and moving forward company-wide.

Adam Hall’s product ranges have been well received at industry shows such as Musikmesse and NAMM, and even won a few awards this year. Are trade shows still an important part of getting your brands in front of people? And how important are industry awards and recognitions to you?

The field of event technology is whole-heartedly a people and relationship-driven business. For this reason, yes, trade shows and events are definitely an important part of connecting with our customers and professionals throughout the industry.

Worldwide, we are present at more than 20 trade shows per year, six of which are in Northern Europe and the UK: PLASA Leeds, PLASA London, BPM Birmingham, ISE Amsterdam, CUE Rotterdam and LLB Expo in Sweden. Not only are they are great meeting point to share the latest product innovations and solutions first-hand, but they are great for having that important ‘face time’ together. In an ironic truth, one of our favourite mottos is “events …the original social network!”

Equally important to building trust by building strong brands, is maintaining meaningful relationships.

Alexander Pietschmann, Adam Hall Group

On the topic of awards, we believe they are also an important part of fostering new innovations in the market. When an independent judging panel of qualified professionals give their vote of confidence, it helps people to authentically recognise and celebrate excellence in the industry. The awards endorse great credibility in design and innovation, including Red Dot, German Design and iF Design. Of course, the ISE Best of Show Awards and TEC Awards at NAMM we also feel signify great importance in the industry.

What’s next for the Adam Hall Group?

You’ll see continued product innovations with a “customer as driver” approach. For example, look out for the new MAUI 5 GO ultra-portable battery-powered PA column system with unlimited play thanks its patented design with quick-swap technology – shipping late December. Based on the success of the CURV 500 system, the new CURV 500 Touring Series will also be available in late December.

For the UK market, you will see channel 38 for the U500 Wireless Microphone Systems, and the launch of the iconic, MAUI P900 column PA system, which has been designed in collaboration with Porsche Design Studio.

Adam Hall Group experience centre, set to open in June 2018

We will also see further international expansion, the Adam Hall Academy, a continued focus on MI (while continuing growth and focus in the rental and install markets), and continued focus on offering innovative event technology.

No matter what lies ahead, our mission to create user-friendly and affordable event technology solutions will always be the key driver. We like to think that offering solutions in event technology helps more professionals to realise their ideas, to amplify people’s emotions and allow great moments to be shared together. In the next few years, this philosophy will definitely continue to navigate our course. Our focus lies in offering real solutions to solve real problems and keeping our customer-centric approach with business customers in the retail, rental, install and industry sectors.

Through use of our new Experience Center and headquarters, and our showrooms located around the world, I can safely say that what is next is further strengthening our alliances with development partners, industry trade associations and thought-leaders in the industry while remembering the importance of sustaining personal commitment, trust and transparency with our employees, our culture and our environment.

No matter what lies ahead, our mission to create user-friendly and affordable event technology solutions will always be the key driver.

Alexander Pietschmann, Adam Hall Group

As we continue to expand internationally, thinking globally and acting locally in our markets should not go without saying.

What is important for me as a CEO is seeing on a day-to-day basis the passion and commitment of the collective team here in house to design, develop and bring customer-centric products and solutions to market. I think what drives us in the knowing that what we do goes hand-in-hand with enabling musicians and event tech professionals to turn their creative ideas and visions into reality – and enable more people to share great moments together.

And lastly, from our point of view, being a German company having its roots from Adam Hall Ltd in the UK, we recognise the UK market to still be one of great significance and importance for us. Even in the context of Brexit, whatever decisions will be made there, we are committed to making our business and service to our customers in the UK work in the best way possible.

For more information about Adam Hall Group visit https://www.adamhall.com/

MI Pro is currently running an exclusive Adam Hall Group competition, offering one lucky reader a chance to win an LD Systems U500 wireless microphone.

All you have to do to be in with a chance is simply retweet our competition tweet below and follow both @miprofessional and @AdamHallGroup on Twitter.

Tags: Distribution , ld systems , Interviews , Adam Hall Group , Alexander Pietschmann

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