Internationalisation – Challenges and Chances; an Interview With NAMUR Chairman Wilhelm Otten

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PROCESS: If there are already different identities of the NAMUR in Germany and China, how will it be possible to set up successfully the Europe-wide intermeshing with other associations that you have been promoting?

OTTEN: Here we are trying to establish more intensive exchanges with the associations WIB, Exera and EEMUA in our European neighbourhood. We are planning a meeting of all associations in June in order to achieve further progress in our joint steps. We have been doing things this way on a bilateral basis all the time in recent years.

But now we want to get all associations together at one table. Although we have a certain leadership role due to our size, one must of course proceed very cautiously and sensitively.


“It is sensible to internationalise cooperation!”

PROCESS: Wouldn’t the founding of a European umbrella organisation be the logical consequence?

OTTEN: It is naturally sensible to internationalise cooperation, to structure it in some form which is yet to be defined, and to agree on joint aims. And this should definitely go beyond the current level of cooperation.

But, with an umbrella organisation, there is always the risk of losing the identity of individual associations. What is clear is that it is urgently necessary for us to agree even better on defined topics.

Have these topics already been formulated?

OTTEN: Yes. Our standpoint on wireless standardisation, for example, is supported equally by all the associations mentioned. The associations, however, have different structures. If you look at the EEMUA, for example, this is more of a service organisation to which customers bring their problems, and the EEMUA attempts, with few full-time staff, to work out relevant solutions. Our approach, in contrast, is that of a classical German association which lives from the fact that all members work on the solutions.

Respect Comes From Competence

PROCESS:The high respect enjoyed by NAMUR comes from the competence of the members in the working groups and the resulting NAMUR recommendations. How can this competence be maintained when the workload on the individual persons is increasing in the member firms?