Industries globally aims to be even more secure and improve on emissions reduction. That is why NEO Monitors exports 96 percent of its laser-based gas analyzers.

Ketil Gorm Paulsen

By Marius Mørch Larsen, Norwegian Financial Daily

– It’s rather complex products. We design laser-based gas analyzers that measure on places that is otherwise impossible to reach, says CEO in NEO Monitors, Ketil Gorm Paulsen.

Close to several residential homes in Skedsmo, Norway, its a quiet morning. On the inside of Neo Monitors facility however, people are hard at work. As one of the leading global providers of laser-based gas analyzers the company experiences huge demand, and must strive to get its solutions out to the customers as quickly as possible. There are huge geographical distances between Neo and its customers all over the world. 97 percent of all production are exported, and this is the key reason for why Neo have been nominated as one of the finalists in the award for best Norwegian Exporter.

– We have experienced a steady growth. We have worked relentlessly for it, invested and stuck to our plan, says Paulsen. From 2012 to 2013 revenues increased with 20 percent, the following year with 30 percent.

– Our technology meets global needs for HSE and better resource usage, explains Paulsen.

Always more secure

Neo Monitors delivers on the needs of a broad range of industries, and their analyzers most often used in segments such as energy, chemical and metal.

– Especially within petro-chemical there are a huge need for the most secure solutions. Even the tiniest errors can cause huge problems.  Paulsen explains that security is becoming more and more important, especially since there has been uncovered that there is some quality issues on some of the measurement systems on factories around the world.

– We want to deliver solutions that meets the strictest needs for security. A refinery can contain thousands of sensors and measurement devices. Statistically several have stopped working without anyone noticing. If this sensor is on a critical place, the whole plant risk shut down. Our equipment is designed so that it automatically reports when an issue occurs. This can save the factory for a lot of money, he says.

Opens new office in Beijing

The company experience growth even though the European industry are showing signs of a slower demand.

– Although Germany is stabile we experience the biggest growth from Asia, with China as the main driver. Somewhere between 96 and 97 of all of our solutions are exported, and Asia absorbs 37 percent of this.

Authorities in China have now placed heavy focus on reducing emissions with analyses that are more accurate. This have paved the way for Neo Monitors, and development have been so great that the company is about to open an office in Bejing.

– We have to do this. There are many attempts to copy our products and profit on our brand. I spoke to a Chinese customer last year that said he was very pleased with all of our seven partners. I had to tell him that I found this odd given that we only have four registered, he says.

Have to get into the office

The company recently moved to new facilities and doubled its office and production space. They are ready to grow even further. They have also nicer offices to welcome customers.

– Many types of communication can’t be replaced by Skype or E-mail and should happen face to face.

Paulsen explains that Neo’s founding father, the laser-pioneer Tycho Jæger, had a vision that his company should be rooted in innovation.

– We have been very active with several EU research projects, but have gradually increased focus on sales and marketing.

– In the past it was almost a secret that our products existed. Now we have our logo firmly put on the wall and we try to be visible in the market. We focus on building our brand especially through digital marketing.

How have you grown globally?

We have grown through a distributor-network. After a while we also started selling OEM-solutions to big industrial companies. The last few years we have worked more strategically with marketing and by supporting our distributors in the sales efforts.

1. What are the biggest challenges Norwegian exporters face?

I believe that the challenges for small technology vendors are somewhat different from the bigger players. Our biggest challenge have been to find the right sales channels. We must travel a lot, meet our partners face to face, and have the ability to meet any global need from customers with the highest focus on quality.

2. In what way are you affected by the weak local currency and drop in oil prices?

We buy our parts in an international market and costs are higher due to the weak Norwegian Krone. In some markets this is compensated with the product becoming cheaper and thus faster and easier to sell.