GEA has been chosen by Hanmi Pharmaceutical, one of the largest drug manufacturers in Korea, to supply manufacturing equipment for a new plant that’s currently under construction in the city of Pyeongtaek-si in the Gyeonggi province of South Korea.

The order includes, among other equipment, in total over 7‘000 VESTA® valves for two identical production lines for insulin. This project is a historic success for us. For the first time in the history of VESTA® we have been chosen to completely equip a green field project with this valve technology. Needless to say, that this multimillion Euro order is the biggest single project in the history of this valve line.

From a handful to thousands of valves

In order to achieve this milestone, an intensive customer support as well as an active customer development was required. “The continuous closeness to the customer and the offered engineering support were the decisive factors”, explains Johann Kranzpiller, responsible Project Manager from Flow Components. “It all started with a handful of VESTA® tank bottom valves in the year 2010. After Hanmi had achieved the first positive results, we had the opportunity to deliver more valves on an increasing scale”, explains Johann Kranzpiller further. An order for over 200 valves followed the first one, still primarily tank bottom valves.

It all started with a handful of VESTA® tank bottom valves in the year 2010." - Johann Kranzpiller, Senior Product Sales Manager - Pharma, GEA

After the completion of this delivery and the valves were again showing convincing results in the process, the trust from the customer-side increased even more. In 2014, Hanmi asked us for the first time to fully equip an extension project completely with VESTA® valve technology. With the delivered quantity of almost 2’000 valves, this project was a strong pillar in the VESTA® success story already. “In retrospect, the win of this project was probably the breakthrough of VESTA® at Hanmi Pharmaceutical”, stated Johann Kranzpiller also to that occasion.

After all these positive experiences in the first years, the customer was very susceptive for the evaluation of further possible fields of application. After multiple intensive discussions onsite, Hanmi Pharmaceutical had decided in mid-2014 to specify VESTA® valve technology as their new standard. This decision enabled the complete equipment of future green field project with VESTA® valves instead of commonly used diaphragm valves and led to the historic success described above.

Interestingly, the four tank bottom valves we sold initially were an important topic throughout the discussions. Until mid-2014, Hanmi did not change one single part on these valves and this is part of the reason why they are delighted with our solution. This result could only be achieved by providing an adequate engineering support from the very beginning.

YES - Customer centricity is a true asset

Impression from the extension project
Impression from the extension project

If a customer is to be convinced of a new valve technology for his business and industry, one must be able to offer best-in-class support. It is a prerequisite to be absolutely willing to go the famous extra mile. “Over all these years, we have always been in dialogue with Hanmi and its integrator. Admittedly a time-consuming approach, whereas in the beginning of the business relation it did not yet pay off. But this recent success shows that it was the right approach nevertheless”, says Johann Kranzpiller. One of the most important success factors in the intensification of the business relation was doubtlessly the provided application and installation support, one if not the key topic when it comes to active customer development. The smallest details, for example showing the customer how to correctly install a valve in a process to achieve best possible results, may be decisive. In the case of Hanmi Pharmaceuticals we sat with the customer and its integrator at the table many times and discussed existing P&ID’s based on diaphragm valves and redesigned them pro bono to perfectly fit the VESTA® philosophy. The more time invested in this important phase, the more sustainable a customer relation will become.

The success in the past few years with Hanmi Pharmaceutical has not just put the VESTA® valve line on a whole new level commercially. We have also gained a lot of experience on how a customer with great potential may be developed into a future key customer.

Hamni is a blueprint - Let's seek new opportunities

Hanmi Pharmaceutical is the one major reference we always aimed for and we are convinced that it will serve as a blueprint for many more potential customers all over the world. Developing future key customers is a common effort throughout the GEA organization. This historic success would have not been possible without the great support from Regions & Countries organization in South Korea, APC Pharma as well as our local distribution partner. We encourage the GEA’s global sales force to seek new opportunities within the pharma / biotech sector and we gladly provide support by creating other great success stories together with you. For more detailed information regarding the Hanmi project or how to live customer centricity by fostering active customer development, please do not hesitate to contact us.