From medium-sized start-up to a traditional large company

The practical implementation of innovation and change management or human resources management in day-to-day corporate life were part of the focus of numerous visits and talks at German companies for 21 entrepreneurs from India who stayed at DMAN in Celle for a four-week management training.

Company owners, managers and executives from various small and medium-sized companies and representing the most varied parts of India visited the company Schreiber & Weinert GmbH in Hannover in September 2016. Schreiber & Weinert GmbH is a systems supplier and full-range source that has been successfully providing furniture and supply solutions to all corners of the globe for more than 50 years. Its vast range is continuously being updated to include the latest in modern office furniture, for example. This wasn’t the first visit here as part of the MP programme, and it surely won’t be the last. The proprietor himself presented the structure and operating processes of the firm. This innovative family-run company reported about new business partners who had to overcome large distances by train to Mongolia for the processing of orders. The flexibility and professionalism of the company made a very positive impression on the visitors. The executives Gopinath Arunchala, Ranjit Singh and Kiran Potdar, all of whom work in furniture manufacturing and are looking for business partners, were especially enthusiastic about the technology used in the office furniture that was presented. The Indian entrepreneurs took the opportunity right there and then to arrange individual meetings later on.

That afternoon they continued on to Alfeld to visit the large paper manufacturer Sappi, a company that operated what are currently the fastest machines for producing specialist paper. Their highly visible smokestack has become the hallmark of the city of Alfeld. Sappi-Alfeld GmbH is part of the global Sappi Group, and manufactures coated and uncoated speciality papers and virgin fibre-based board. For over 310 years Sappi Alfeld has been a part of the city of Alfeld. Throughout its long company history, the business has left its mark on the heart of the city. The guests from India were surprised by the unique and unusual closeness of the industrial facilities and the historical centre of the old part of the city. They could follow the living history of the Alfeld paper mill as it became a cutting edge factory for the production of speciality papers, but were astounded by the sustainable production methods the company uses that have achieved a 50 percent drop in energy consumption since the 1980s. The paper manufacturer is now able to direct the enormous amounts of water it uses right back into the neighbouring river after it has been cleaned. The massive amount of paper manufacturing (270,000 tonnes per year) first became fully apparent once the visitors reached the production halls and were also able to view the giant rolls of finished paper. Temperatures in the manufacturing halls of up to +45 degrees Celsius may have momentarily reminded the visitors of their home country. They were also enthusiastic about the highly professional tour they had received.

The participants were received in Gifhorn by IAV Ingenieurgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr GmbH on 22 September 2016. IAV GmbH is one of the leading companies in the field of automotive engineering with a total of 6,500 employees worldwide and 30 years of experience. They have a reputation as a professional partner for many renowned automobile manufacturers. They convincingly demonstrated that the given conditions of the automobile industry – e.g. stricter emissions standards, new mobility concepts and the needs of new markets – necessarily require a bundling of competencies. The company fulfils this need by practicing an integral development approach. The ability to solve problems is enhanced and the efficiency of development services for a range of vehicles – from the smallest cars to the biggest trucks – can be increased. This makes it possible to cater to companies of various sizes with an equal degree of success. Afterwards, the start-up company veaxo Energy GmbH from the field of energy and environmental technology presented its expertise in the production of custom-made containers (ISO and specially-designed containers). This product was developed in close collaboration with IAV. The participants’ numerous questions were not exclusively about the self-sufficient containers as a system for producing wind, photovoltaic or diesel energy. They also asked about access to fresh water. There was also much interest in setting up, financing and developing start-up companies in Germany.

By Dr Ronald Pschierer
Deutsche Management Akademie Niedersachsen, Celle