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"No reason to resign, because of the crisis"

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Anton und Andreas Hettich blicken trotz Krise optimistisch in die 
Zukunft und stellen neue Fachkräfte ein. Quelle: Juergen Rehrmann

Anton and Andreas Hettich look optimistic despite crisis in the future and provide a new skilled workers. Source: Juergen Rehrmann

The furniture suppliers from the East Westphalian Hettich Kirchlengern took a long time, until the internal succession was settled. In and about the company’s own remedy for the current economic crisis, saying the representatives of two generations of entrepreneurs, Anton and Andreas Hettich, with Ingo Reich.

Handelsblatt: Mr. Hettich, you have this year become 80 years old, you may remember a similar scale economic crisis?

Anton Hettich: No, the situation was so difficult for companies in the furniture industry and its suppliers than ever before. Previously, there were years when it went abroad not so good, then we could usually compensate for this by good business in Germany – or vice versa.

HB: Now it is foreign share of sales at around 67 percent. Do you think that this was the right one?

Anton Hettich: Sure, because we need the internationalization of our mass production. The amount produced, ultimately decides the level of production. If we had not grown abroad, our foreign competitors have overtaken the place.

HB: How do you steer your company through the crisis?

Andreas Hettich: In some works, we have temporarily introduced short-time, also the most time accounts have been removed, had accumulated on which the employees their overtime. Also working for us now as good as any employee longer. Thus we have adjusted the capacity of the production.

HB: Is eingekeilt why your company headquarters in eastern Westphalia Kirchlengern the great resignation?

Andreas Hettich: There is no reason to resign, because we have basically two different situations. First, the housing crisis are still countries like the U.S., Britain and Spain has a firm grip. Second, the basic parameters of the furniture industry, we are their partners agree to continue: The furniture consumption increases steadily with population growth and therefore the world income gains. At this generally positive situation in our industry has not changed.

HB: You want to keep the core of your workforce, then?

Andreas Hettich: We keep our core team, not only we, despite crisis even more skilled workers. Especially well-trained engineers. Our training rate is unchanged. Otherwise we would at the very moment when the world economy starts up again, the lack of qualified personnel.

HB: When do they expect?

Andreas Hettich: It depends heavily on income trends in our growth markets in Eastern Europe. If the oil price rises again above $ 80 a barrel, it is faster. Otherwise, it takes a little longer.

HB: Can you imagine, in the meantime to avoid other business?

Anton Hettich: I have tried in my active time ever with the manufacture of shower enclosures. Despite some success, we were so much too small. There is therefore still valid: Shoemaker, stick to your last.

HB: Is the current management, ie your son, the same question?

Andreas Hettich: Yes, I agree with this basic attitude of my father.

HB: Do you agree on all issues?

Andreas Hettich: Of course not. We sometimes discuss very controversial. But in the end we always find a solution together.

HB: Do you have your son prepared early on to succeed?

Anton Hettich: Yes. I have my son never trimmed to accept the inheritance. We’ve had some time even a good non-family management. For twenty years ago when I moved to the advisory board of the company, Andrew was only at the beginning of his training.

HB: What characteristics must demonstrate a good successor?

Anton Hettich: Certain properties can not be forced or educate. Because of the technical competence to include human. Who for example is not a team player, has no place at the head of a company nothing. In addition, a quick mind and a capacity for analysis is essential. As you can lift someone not based solely on family tradition in this office.

HB: Your son would be an exception?

Anton Hettich: Yes, a real find. Even our six member advisory board was quickly convinced of its qualities.

HB: Did you do this?

Andreas Hettich: Honestly, I knew at that time not yet what was later to actually play on me.

HB: Have you repented?

Andreas Hettich: No, because despite the crisis, I enjoy the creative possibilities that I have as an entrepreneur.

HB: What do you appreciate your father?

Andreas Hettich: That he has retired early and consistently from the operational management of the company. He has still not even his own office on the premises.

Anton Hettich decisions: You do not have to old age each and every daily decision-making in the company. One can also very effective in making his influence by the Advisory Board of claim.

HB: Should I stay for the foreseeable future Hettich a purely family-run businesses.

Andreas Hettich: If one of my daughters would later bring the will and with it the qualities that are necessary for the management of a company, gladly.


Two Generations

Anton Hettich (Born 1929) now heads the advisory board of the Hettich Group. With eight siblings, he first grew up in the Black Forest. In 1959 he takes over after the death of his father and uncle at the age of thirty years, the Westphalian branch of the company. The then Paul Hettich & Co. engaged in Herford, 200 employees and an annual turnover comes from eight million to DM his professional experience as presented in Anton Hettich in many honorary positions available. How many years he was vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Herford Ostwestfalen CDU. Also in the social sphere Anton Hettich is engaged. Here, especially, his foundation to support young people in the music schools in Herford and Kirchlengern is also relevant. He is married and father of four children.

Andreas Hettich Completed (born 1969) to 1996 to study electrical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. There, he finished his doctorate summa cum laude and is working on wireless projects with the world’s largest corporations Philips  and Ericsson. Hettich starts on 1 July 2000 as Assistant to the Executive his career in the Hettich Group and get one years later became managing director. In 2005 he was appointed managing director of Hettich Holding. Today, he oversees the finance, legal, tax, human resources, controlling and IT. Andreas Hettich is married and has three daughters.

Hettich Group: From the clock to high-tech Hinge

Kirchlengern. DIYers often have only one wish: "Had? I Hettich." For the East-Westphalian furniture hardware manufacturer Hettich has been delivering quality for decades. Whether hinges, screws, drawer or cabinet accessories, the products of Hettich ambitious DIYers are not just the first choice. Even the mass furniture manufacturer Ikea or the luxury kitchen manufacturer Poggenpohl belong to the sworn Hettich clientele.

Because the drawers and damping Ostwestfalen systems have become high-tech products. No slamming or accidental popping noise can Hettich premium products through the harmony in the modern kitchen and more disturbing.

Hettich his lucrative niche is found early, because the estimated to around ten percent market share it can be only a limited number of competitors to dispute. Two of them are based in Austria. It is the Julius Blum GmbH, Höchst, with annual sales of around one billion euros and the Grass GmH, annual turnover about 300 million euros, which comes from the same location in the province of Vorarlberg.

Despite suffering Hettich as a supplier to the furniture industry, which is currently a revenue loss of approximately twelve percent recorded over the previous year, as the industry association reported VDM.

Seven Swabians prefers to Westphalia

Has started for all in the Black Forest as Hettich Hettich grandfather Charles in 1888 with the production of anchor hooks began for cuckoo clocks. A total of five sons search based on the parental farm in the early 20th Schramberg Own century of activity.

Paul, August and Franz Hettich finally pulls it into Westphalia, the cradle of the German furniture industry. In Herford, they founded a branch operation, which now produces a crew of seven Swabians hinges may find this hot cakes.

Sales of almost 780 million euros

In 1959, Anton Hettich assumes that today heads the advisory board of the group, the third generation in the business. The now 80-year-old remembers is still in the Swabian origin of the sympathetic-sounding dialect. Yet even Andreas Hettich, youngest of four offspring, is in his sobriety a real Westphalian.

That it generated the Hettich Group of the Westphalian Kirchlengern in its current size – 5 800 people worldwide last a turnover of almost 780 million euros – still exists, thanks above all to Anton Hettich. The skillful tactician, prevented the dispersion of shares among a large number of heirs by temporary financial investors participated in the company – and was thus able to satisfy the financial claims of the heirs.

At times there were even 55 percent of the company shares in foreign hands, without, however, Hettich reins neglected even for a moment. Since 2006, all shares are owned by the family again.

On a successor from the family company but had to wait long. While showing the two eldest daughters and the eldest of two sons of little interest in the task, Hettich was initially non-family managers who acted under his supervision successfully. When Anton Hettich in 1989, withdrew to the advisory board of the company, is the youngest, Andrew, barely twenty years old and only at the beginning of his training. He studied electrical engineering, a doctorate and starts a promising career in the wireless industry.

But today’s forty irritate the entrepreneurial role and the creative possibilities at the head of a family business more than the often slow grind of a large corporation. He is the wooing of the father, finally, who is from the outset a high regard for his youngest. The relief at the successful follow-up is Anton Hettich noted today. "It has many benefits when a family member is at the head of the company. Cook some conflict so not even high. It is good if the employees can say, This is the Hettich, with whom one can talk again," says Senior.