WLPGA: How long have you been at the helm of Kosan and what career path brought you here
ACA: I have been CEO for the group since the summer of 2003. Before that, since 1998, I was COO. I joined the company as young R&D Engineer in 1989 together with a bunch of several other young engineers with the simple, in fact only, task of developing “the filling plant for the future”. At that time everything was mechanical, non-electronic and low performing with a maximum filling capacity of approximately 1200 cylinders per hour. Today, with the introduction of the Flexspeed product line, KC has more than tripled that number and is easily running more than 4,000 cylinders per hour on a single filling line. It has been a very exiting journey and almost everyone from the team employed back in 1989 is still in the company and are now holding various management and specialist positions today. I was personally excited by the R&D work as well as the interaction with our many good and loyal customers and partners. So from day one I have been travelling the world, visiting so many great and passionate LPG personalities who have the same passion and drive for the business as we have in KC. KC is a company that takes good care of its staff and during the years I have been through several long lasting education courses such as General Business Administration, Covey leadership education etc. I am passionate about my family (a lovely wife and three great kids), endurance sport (marathon running and mountain biking), British motorbikes (Triumph) and many other things that challenge me.
WLPGA: What do you see as the key challenges today in the Danish/European market?
ACA: The LPG market in our part of the world is stagnating or declining and this is of course presents many challenges to our customers. Investment in new technology can only be justified by very short payback time, meaning that it has to work better and faster for less cost. KC is extremely good at listening, analyzing and “decoding” those specific challenges and finding good, pragmatic, workable solutions that can be implemented and make our customers more competitive. For many years it has been about consolidation, moving and/or closing plants and consolidating the volume on larger and more automated plants with fewer operators.
WLPGA: And what about the main opportunities for Kosan today?
ACA: The products we offer today are modularised from birth and even a product is tailor-made to the specific customer’s needs, the core of the components, the software etc. is the same no matter if the customer is from Indonesia or Peru. The spinoff is volume (which means everything) and this, together with the geographical footprint KC has today, means we are able to meet our customers in their own back yard to find specific solutions that work for them. Regarding the European market and the consolidation process it has been through in the past 15-20 years, it has been a huge driver for almost all new equipment we have developed and the projects we have executed. In other words, we have sharpened up and learned a great deal by going through this process hand-in-hand with our valued customers, and with proper knowledge sharing and an open-minded attitude, I believe the whole industry has learned a lot and is now ready to battle the new challenges coming from the development of other available energy sources, such as Natural Gas, LNG, Biogas, green energy of many types. It is KC’s intention to continue the development in the LPG industry, where we originated many years ago, but it is also definitely our intention to follow in our customers’ footsteps and make them successful in various alternative “newer energy sources” should they chose to go in that direction.
WLPGA: What benefits do you see as being a Board and Industry Council member of the WLPGA?
ACA: First of all, as an industry and business leader, it is a great network to participate in. I meet so many people with great vision, knowledge and skills, so it is always possible to find answers to the questions you may have by just meeting and interacting at the events we attend throughout the year. For me and for KC, there will always be room for learning as long as you have an open mind and you are ready to give as much as you receive. It also broadens my perspective in the LPG industry; one example is the Cooking For Life campaign. LPG in cylinders is such a great product and definitely a part of the solution for Sub-Saharan countries. By bringing together all the knowledge “we” have in the industry, we can actually create a massive development for so many people, in such a short time. It is a huge benefit for KC to be one of the decision makers and first movers.