PitPoint’s international focus
Interview with PitPoint CEO Erik Kemink27-07-2017
Internationally, Dutch companies have the reputation of being pioneers when it comes to sustainable mobility. One of the shining stars is without a doubt PitPoint, which has also taken a serious plunge into the international marketplace. How does PitPoint plan to conquer the rest of Europe? We asked Erik Kemink, CEO of Pit Point.
PitPoint has a strong market position in the Netherlands. How do you explain that success? “We’re a pioneer in sustainable mobility. We offer fuels that are both affordable and reliable,” says CEO of PitPoint, Erik Kemink. The latter may very well be the company’s greatest achievement. Despite the fact that the company was still in the pioneering phase after it was launched, we have always been able to maintain the right level of quality, according to the CEO. “This is a must, of course, when you deliver to customers with transport as their core business. We’ve been able to do this because the entire chain is organised within our company.”
Not only do engineers work at PitPoint, but also the producers of the products and the people who maintain these products. Marketing and sales are also handled in-house. “It is precisely because we have all of these different components under one roof that we hear and know about everything. This enables us to organise reliability. If you are personally responsible for maintenance, experience has shown that you are then better able to produce products, although perhaps that may seem unfair.”
Although PitPoint may very well be a pioneer in sustainable mobility in the Netherlands in terms of both size and position, its share within the total market for clean fuels remains relatively small. So the greatest challenge is not to enlarge its position, but to enlarge the entire market. There are two reasons why PitPoint has set its sights abroad. First and foremost, the company has a defensive strategy. Kemink continues, “The Dutch market is not developing very quickly and we are extremely dependent on the government and its policy. By operating internationally, we can spread our risks and grow even more quickly.” Which brings us to the second reason. “We believe that our company has much more to offer to more than just the Dutch market. The CO2 problem is a global one.”
“We want to help make the transport industry cleaner and are eager to share our strengths with the rest of the world.” Kemink sees very promising opportunities for PitPoint abroad, far more than in the Netherlands. The company is currently active in Belgium and Germany, but would also like to expand to France and Denmark. “Developments in these countries are taking place rapidly and the Netherlands is much smaller, not only geographically, but also in terms of size and population. So I expect that we can increase our turnover more quickly abroad -within three to four years – than in the Netherlands,” adds Kemink.
PitPoint believes that local organisation is the best way to conquer foreign markets. In the development of petrol stations and charging stations, you have to deal with local authorities, explains Kemink. “And with local customers. This can only be successful if you truly understand the market.” That is why, six months ago, PitPoint changed its organisational structure. The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all have their own local organisation now. “Slowly but surely, we are transferring more and more tasks to the country organisations. At the same time, we are making our knowledge and skills available as needed.”
According to the CEO, the greatest risks – of both sustainable transport and the organisation – are concentrated primarily in government policy. Is the government pursuing the same ambitions? “We ourselves need to be wary of growth that takes place too quickly. We need to make sure we keep pace from an organisational perspective. With a turnover of around 25 million euros and a staff of 50, we are still a small player, but one that does big things and is growing rapidly.” Kemink is referring, for example, to the agreement signed with Volkswagen and other parties to get 1 million CNG cars on the road and 2,000 CNG petrol stations built in Germany by the year 2025. “These goals are challenging and demand a great deal from our company. Rapid growth is always risky, but won’t get in the way of our ambitions.”