With positive thinking into the new year – a look back at 2020

This past year 2020 has probably been one of the craziest ones with one or another unforeseen twist and turn all over the world. How did the year for spo-comm go and what is going to happen in 2021? We asked CEO Michael Sporrer and CMO Bernd Moosmüller for a recap.

spo-comm Marketing: Hi Michael, hi Bernd, and welcome to this year's interview. The mere fact that we are sitting together via Teams this time and not in the spo-comm meeting room speaks volumes. Tell us how did you get on?

Michael Sporrer: I have probably never seen as few people in the office as I have this year and it was very challenging in all respects. The whole Corona issue really had a significant impact on the way we work. With the beginning of the lockdown, our sales and marketing teams started to work from home. Fortunately, we started rolling out Microsoft Teams back in October last year. That makes communication much easier in these difficult times. And there was also a lot to consider in our production. The required distancing regulations meant that fewer people could work at the same time. This in turn had an impact on the entire production planning. Nevertheless, our production is doing everything it can to deliver the orders in the usual time and quality. I'm really excited about that.

Bernd Moosmüller: 2020 was really a challenge for everyone, especially for the employees. But everyone reacted extremely flexible, so that we could actually work from home almost exactly as before. And we could continue to deliver. Our customers didn't notice any difference: prices and delivery times stayed the same and we didn't have to cut back on our services either.

Michael Sporrer: I think we got a good balance. It is important to us to protect the health of our employees. At the same time, however, business had to continue, not least to keep the jobs. Some of our regular customers are struggling with enormous losses, as industries such as event technology and exhibition stand construction are suffering from the crisis. At the same time, we were able to win new industrial customers with great potential, so that by and large, and especially given the circumstances, we are satisfied with how the year went for us.

Marketing: And we were even able to hire new colleagues!

Michael Sporrer: Yes, exactly, Victor Mention replaces our previous executive assistant and Kim Schrickel, who is doing her apprenticeship as an IT system management assistant with us, is a great support for our sales team. It is of course difficult for a trainee not to sit with the direct contact person in the office but to work from home, but Kim does it really well. I am very happy with the new ones.

Bernd Moosmüller: Me too! And that although it was definitely not easy for them at the beginning. It's wild when you come to the office and everyone runs off (laughs). But they both get involved really well and work independently. They were really lucky!

Marketing: Let's take a look back: In February we exhibited at the ISE in Amsterdam for the last time. How did you experience that?

Bernd Moosmüller: Our participation was good, but now the fair has lost its appeal twice. Even before Corona we had more or less decided not to take part anymore because Barcelona is logistically difficult. Now it is questionable whether the ISE will still take place next year, yes, whether the topic of face-to-face fairs has not been dealt with anyway. We have therefore been looking for new ways of communicating with customers for a long time, be it virtually or, if allowed again, on site.

Marketing: And what about new product launches?

Bernd Moosmüller: Unfortunately, there were only a few new product presentations last year. This is in large part because Intel is increasingly struggling to deliver and fails promises. Therefore, there are only a few developments at board level. The successor to the Windbox II Quad will definitely come next year. And maybe also products for new markets and other successors.

Marketing: For example?

Bernd Mossmüller:(laughs) Do I have to give you names now? Ok, so there is sure to be something new in the RUGGED series, possibly also in the KUMO series.

Michael Sporrer: We're thinking about a passive KUMO model, but let's see. In addition, we are still thinking about introducing a completely new series with panel PCs again. That would also be of interest to the manufacturing industry.

Bernd Moosmüller: The prerequisite is that we can run our spo-comm system, which means that the panel PCs must be individually configurable for the customers.

Marketing: We all hope that the Corona crisis will be over one. What will happen to home office at spo-comm then?

Michael Sporrer: In the current situation, I think home office is great as a flexible instrument, it is necessary and it works well. But in my opinion it is good for the whole company structure to be more in the office. For me, face-to-face communication is extremely important and I think the company lives through the presence of the employees. But that's also a personal thing. My home is my castle (laughs), I just need an external workplace to be able to separate work and private life.

Bernd Moosmüller: I think the flexibility we gain through home office is great. With us it was born out of necessity and it's going great. I also believe that it will continue to be with us in the future. Of course, it always depends on the particular activity. It has great advantages for conceptual work, for example, because you are simply undisturbed. And it is also practical for employees with children or long journeys to work. At the same time, we have to remember that it looks different at everyone's home and that we as an employer cannot influence it either. Not everyone has their own study with a desk and ergonomic chair. Overall, however, I am very positive about it and I am curious to see how it will develop further.

Marketing: We still have one topic, our long-running favorite: the new website ...

Bernd Moosmüller: At the moment I am somewhat optimistic and dare to make the forecast: We can still do it this year!

Michael Sporrer: I would be happy when it starts. It would really be a huge improvement because we have so many new ways to make the shopping experience more enjoyable for our customers.

Marketing: Is there anything else on your mind?

Michael Sporrer: This year I saw that I can rely on our employees even in difficult times. I am optimistic and positive about the new year, and hope that normality will return to some extent in the second half of the year!

Marketing: These are nice closing words. Thank you for the interview!

More on this topic

5 Nov 2020 Array ( [id] => 616 [title] => Apprenticeship as a management assistant in IT-systems at spo-comm [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => Already since July Kim Schrickel supports the spo-comm sales team. Initially she started as a trainee, but since September she can officially call herself an apprentice as a management assistant in IT-systems. What does someone in this position do and what is on Kim’s daily schedule at spo-comm? We asked her. [description] =>

Chiara: Hi Kim, please tell us: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Kim: Hi Chiara. I usually start working at 8 am. First of all, I start my PC, check my e-mails and get a quick overview of what’s to do. Of course, one thing can’t be missed: coffee! In our daily meetings we talk about the running projects and assign our tasks. My main responsibilities are the making of offers, order confirmations, but also invoices. Being in contact with our customers via e-mail or phone is my daily business. I keep an eye on the current testing samples and as well look after the the sales and production key figures. 

Chiara: Next to your actual work at the spo-comm headquarters in Nuremberg you also have to go to the vocational school in Fürth. What subjects are part of your timetable?

Kim: Next to the standard subjects such as politics and society, English and the plus program D there are job-related subjects like IT systems, technology or application development and programming. Since I’m doing a commercial apprenticeship there’s also a subject called “business processes”, which connects the theoretical and the practical part probably the most. At the moment the hardest for me is AWP (application development and programming). But I think that’s normal when you’re confronted with programming a so-called “Windows Forms App” overnight. Two years from now I’ll probably wish for tasks like these! (laughs) Overall, I like the vocational school. 

Chiara: How did it come about that you want to do an apprenticeship as a management assistant in IT-systems?

Kim: I had my first touching points with video games when I was a kid. I guess it was with the NES and later on the SNES, with the classic Mario-, Zelda- and Sonic-games. By that, my interest in consoles and later in computers became bigger. I am a typical 90s kid and grew up with all of that jazz. Like that, I developed a normal sympathy with IT but also wanted to know what stands behind it. That’s how I chose an apprenticeship in the IT field.

Chiara: What do you like most about spo-comm respectively about your job here?

Kim: What I like most here is that, since the first day, I get to see every division of spo-comm. Like that, structures and processes are easy to understand and very transparent. For me, my everyday work is a good combination of classic routine tasks and other exciting to do’s which make every day different. I get along with my colleagues very well. The whole spo-comm team is like a small family and next to our work we laugh a lot together.

Chiara: What’s your favorite Mini-PC?

Kim: I find the idea of a Mini-PC itself very interesting, since I only knew the classic desktop tower PCs before I started my apprenticeship. The most interesting PCs for me are probably the passively cooled ones, such as the RUGGED series or the best-selling WINDBOX II Quad. This system may look unremarkable but is nevertheless high-performant and can be used in various application fields.

Chiara: We all are very happy to have you in our team. Thank you for taking time for this little interview.

Kim: Thanks Chiara. I am also very happy to be part of this team :)

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Apprenticeship as a management assistant in IT-systems at spo-comm

Already since July Kim Schrickel supports the spo-comm sales team. Initially she started as a trainee, but since September she can officially call herself an apprentice as a management assistant in IT-systems. What does someone in this position do and what is on Kim’s daily schedule at spo-comm? We asked her.
17 Nov 2020 Array ( [id] => 619 [title] => 10 good reasons for spo-comm Mini-IPCs [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => You are asking yourself, why you should choose Mini IPCs from spo-comm? We have 10 good reasons for you: [description] =>

1. Quality

The Systems offered by spo-comm GmbH are tested thoroughly and are suitable for 24/7 operations. All the components comply with industry standards and thus ensure a long, failsafe operating time. Furthermore all of our systems have a robust metal housing.

2. Equipment

All spo-comm Mini-PCs are equipped with industry-standard hardware. The used components are tested for compatibility as well as constant load and are therefore approved.

3. Fanless design

More than half of our solutions are passively cooled Mini-PCs. That means that there are no fans in the particular systems. This allows a more robust construction, almost silent working and also increases the durability of the IPCs.

4. Long-term availability

We guarantee that all spo-comm Mini-PCs are available over a period of five to seven years. This ensures, for instance, a lasting image- and software-compatibility.

5. Ports

Thanks to our various product lines we can ensure the necessary connectivity for any application. Well-tried ports like COM or VGA can be realized also with our newest platforms.

6. Custom manufacturing

Each of our systems is carefully assembled and completed in our production facility in Nuremberg to the wishes of our customers.

7. Power consumption

The chipsets and processors we use enable a high performance and energy efficiency at the same time. Many systems work with 15 watts of average load. Our Embedded-PCs of the upper class require a maximum of 40 to 50 watts.

8. OEM

On request we will gladly arise for you as “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM). We arrange everything from plain packaging over customized cases to system booting with your requested logo. Just get in touch!

9. Customizing

As manufacturer and developer we can provide, regarding to your needs, changes and adjustments to our spo-comm Mini-PCs. Depending on the project type and the size, a completely new product development is possible as well.

10. Warranty and service extensions

For all spo-comm Mini-PCs we provide warranty and service extensions up to 5 years. More information about our spo-comm SysCare Packs can be found here.

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10 good reasons for spo-comm Mini-IPCs

You are asking yourself, why you should choose Mini IPCs from spo-comm? We have 10 good reasons for you:
8 Dec 2020 Array ( [id] => 625 [title] => Apprenticeship as an IT specialist for system integration at spo-comm [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => Next to the commercial trainings the spo-comm also offers non-commercial ones. Since September 2020 our IT specialist for system integrated-to-be Felix supports his colleagues in the production and service department. He told us a little bit more about his apprenticeship and to do’s. [description] =>

Chiara: Hi Felix, what are your tasks as a trainee in the field of IT system integration?

Felix: Hello Chiara, although some tasks are of course repetitive, my training in general is very versatile. It starts with picking the components from our warehouse and goes on with preparing delivery notes and finally playing the operating system onto the harddrive. Then, one whole PC can be built and customized with all these little pieces. Next to the daily business tasks I worked on some projects with my colleagues. For instance, we organize our server room, and also installed our new telephone system in a virtual machine. In doing so, I can learn things that are not that common.


Chiara: And what do you learn in the business school?

Felix: There are subjects that probably every trainee knows, like “Politics and Society” or English. But the system integration training also includes “information technology systems”. Here you get a good overview of the basic electronics of a network and also the software that’s based on this. Also virtual machines were a part of our schedule. In each of the information-technological fields application development plays a role: We are learning with the base of C++. No worries, it doesn’t have that much to do with math as many think, but without it it’s also not possible.   


Chiara: What do you like most about your work at spo-comm?

Felix: I am generally interested in technology, old and new. In my private time it's mostly the audio editing field, production and retro technology. I was very young when I came in touch with PCs. Since Pentium 2 times I had the chance to experiment with, first with invalided out computer parts, and try stuff out. I had fun doing this back then and now doing this as my profession makes me very happy. I get along with my colleagues very well. The most different challenges are being mastered flexibly and together.


Chiara: What’s your favourite Mini-PC?

Felix: That's pretty hard to tell. As a fan of 19" racks the first one that comes to my mind is our NINETEEN. In my opininion it is the most unique system of all. In regards to the mini PCs it would be the CORE 2: It's really impressive what is possible on such small space. If I had to choose one for gaming I would take the KUMO V with its Nvidia graphics card. I think our product range has a PC for every different application.


Chiara: We are very happy to have you in our team!


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Apprenticeship as an IT specialist for system integration at spo-comm

Next to the commercial trainings the spo-comm also offers non-commercial ones. Since September 2020 our IT specialist for system integrated-to-be Felix supports his colleagues in the production and service department. He told us a little bit more about his apprenticeship and to do’s.