The NTS-Group was founded in 2005. Expectations were high. The merging of Nebato and Te Strake was to result in a high-value, opto-mechatronic top-tier supplier which would serve high-tech OEMs through the development, production and assembly of critical components - wherever the customer needed it. ‘We mapped out a path to take, and we took it. Overcoming the obstacles we encountered along the way’, comments CEO, Marc Hendrikse. ‘Now, ten years on, the vision we had for the company is now a firm reality. Of this, I am exceptionally proud.’
The world of OEMs in high-tech industry has in recent decades been characterised by significant and fundamental shifts. The rate of technological development is increasing exponentially, with global markets in a constant state of flux. Market players beat the competition on the grounds of speed, quality and cost. This is something that large machine builders in the high-mix, low-volume, high-complexity sector are no longer capable of doing alone. They have begun focussing on what they’re good at: market knowledge, developing ideas and key processes and selling their machines. Increasingly, everything else is being outsourced. As a result, the demands OEMs have of their suppliers are fundamentally changing.
‘In many respects, high-tech machine building in Brainport is way ahead the rest of the world - both in a technological sense and in terms of chain organisation and collaboration’, says Hendrikse. ‘It’s not surprising that the NTS-Group came into being here. Companies like Philips, DAF and Océ used to do everything in-house; from concept design and making the parts, through to prototype build and production. Ever increasing consumer price erosion of mass products led to production being moved to low-wage countries and a growing demand for new products. R&D costs must be reduced, innovation cycles sped-up and volatile markets demand flexibility. Old business models give way to new ones. The consequence of these developments is companies outsourcing more and more. Component construction and module assembly were the first to go. Meanwhile, a need developed for parties that could act as fully-fledged partner in the development and build of entire systems. And thus, the NTS-Group was born. Growth through maximum added value has always been our principle.’
Over the past decade, the NTS-Group has evolved to become a systems supplier that takes care of the development and integration of complex opto-mechatronic systems, modules and machines and the manufacture of the related components on behalf of OEMs. In the year 2015, we see a company which is - in many respects - one of a kind in Europe and the rest of the world. It combines high-value manufacturing, assembly and development capabilities within the framework of a growing group of varied but close-knit, collaborative operations. Furthermore, the NTS companies are located on the doorstep of their customers in South-East Asia, Eastern Europe and The Netherlands.
Hendrikse: ‘When we merged in 2005, we set an agenda that, to this day, we’ve followed to the letter. The NTS-Group now employs no less than a thousand people. For a large part, these people are still the experts in manufacturing, finishing and assembling components for our customers’ machines. We are also a co-developer and integrator of essential systems and modules for international high-tech machine builders. What’s more, NTS continues to rise in the chains we operate in. This involves us more closely in our customers’ business cases and roadmaps. On top of that, more and more often, we’re being asked whether NTS would take on full responsibility for new customer modules and machines as an investor and developer.’
Hendrikse is not one to rest on his laurels. A take-over, big win, pleasing annual results... As far as the NTS CEO is concerned, the cork will remain firmly in the champagne bottle, as Hendrikse looks ahead to the next step. Still, the ten year anniversary of NTS-Group is something to celebrate. NTS was never intended to merely deliver a service. NTS was interested in taking on a position of responsibility, becoming a partner of choice. It aspired to be the first name that sprung to mind for OEMs looking for a partner in the development and build of critical components, systems and modules.
‘We set the bar high ten years ago’, says Hendrikse, ‘but we cleared it’. ‘What we’re doing now is simply our vision come true. Though, it has to be said, that didn’t just ‘happen’. The drastic change and growth process NTS has undergone is, by definition, a fundamental learning process. The accumulation of knowledge and expertise is huge. That doesn’t exclusively apply to the technology, but also to how you approach projects, deal with customers, make working agreements with clients, manage risks, take people to a higher level, optimise a complex organisation, carry-off international acquisitions, incorporate foreign organisations in your culture, and so on and so on... All the while, ensuring that the wheels keep on turning because there are a bills to be paid. None of this would have been possible without the support of our shareholders. They always had a long-term view. In addition, we are blessed with a good number of customers who see our business model as the answer to their requests and who are happy entering into an intensive partnership. Who we really need to thank, though, are our people. The NTS-Group’s success is built on ambition, flexibility, expertise, trust, enjoyment and pride. These are the traits I see in every person who works here.’
Marc Hendrikse: 'Growth through maximum added value has always been our principle'