Do New Brooms Sweep Cleaner?
In October 2005, the Beissbarth Automotive Group was bought by the Société Générale Capital Europe and Mark Hüsges (35) became the Group’s CEO. So, with a new owner and new management – where does Beissbarth go from here?
Says Mark Hüsges: “The restructuring phase of the last 2 – 3 years is now behind us, and I now view developments as positive, though we are still facing a lot of work. The company is new, and its re-alignment will be new as well. We have succeeded in optimising our quality management, re-organising our service activities, installing market-orientated product management and, based on experience going back for many decades, initiating innovative technical development in all Beissbarth’s product sectors.”
Some people tend to regard service as a necessary evil in today’s market – is this Beissbarth’s attitude? “Definitely not! For Beissbarth’s new management, customer-orientated service is the key to sales success. Long waiting times are unacceptable, especially in the tyre trade where seasonal business makes them undesirable. We currently have 16 of Beissbarth’s own service technicians in the field in Germany, supported by our 25 service partners throughout the country. The technicians are given regular training at our training centre in Karlsfeld near Munich, to guarantee that their knowledge is up to date.
“We expect our service technicians to be in direct contact with customers. This gives us the benefit of the trust they build up and the advantage that they are not far away from their customers. At the service centre too, we form groups and practise personal contact between our staff and the customer.”
As machinery becomes increasingly sophisticated, it becomes harder to introduce genuine innovations. What is Beissbarth’s experience in this area? The company has changed its attitude, says Mr. Hüsges, saying: “For a number of years Beissbarth lay back and relied on its good name; it invested in innovations that were not aligned closely enough with customers’ needs or were outside its core competences. We have redefined the main focus in this respect. Last year in Bologna for instance, and at the Reifen show, we introduced our Touchless wheel alignment system with great success.
“It’s a revolutionary development from our company that opens up entirely new opportunities for the user and in particular for the tyre trade. No components have to be attached to the vehicle that is being measured, there are no mechanical parts subject to wear, there are no measuring heads that could be damaged, a significant amount of time is saved during measurements and operation is intuitive: the car is driven into the measuring area, you get out – and the main data are already there!
“Another innovation is our new MS 67 hydraulic tyre fitting machine for wheel rims up to 30” in diameter, with centre clamping, wheel lift, rapid inflating system and many other new features. It guarantees safe, fast, simple tyre fitting that’s convenient for the operator and avoids physical effort. In the next few weeks we will also begin to sell a new automatic wheel-balancing machine that reads the wheel data automatically.
“In terms of brake-testing products, we have succeeded in developing an ultra-modern all-wheel drive identification principle and offering it to our customers, together with a means of testing the electronic handbrake which the Volkswagen Group, for instance, is now beginning to install on its cars.
“These are just a few examples of Beissbarth’s latest developments, but we have more surprises in store!”
The Beissbarth name has always had a reputation for quality and it seems that this is as important today as ever. Most of its products are developed and built at its Munich location and Beissbarth is probably one of the last companies in this business area that can still offer products “Made in Germany”. Explains Mr. Hüsges: “We thus have direct control over production and a means of maintaining our quality standards. The tyre service machinery is developed and built jointly with our subsidiary company Sicam in Italy, and is under constant supervision by our product management staff.”
At the Essen show, Beissbarth introduced a new product line for the tyre trade. Does this mean that the tyre trade is assuming greater importance to Beissbarth? Mr. Hüsges’s reply was emphatic: “Yes! Today we supply a complete range for the tyre trade. Our wheel alignment and tyre service machines, our brake test rigs and of course our air conditioning testers too satisfy the highest standards, such as those imposed in particular by the tyre trade. All our equipment has been approved and is recommended by leading vehicle manufacturers all over the world. The tyre fitting equipment in our range can fit all the existing safety tyre systems such as runflat, PAX etc. conveniently and safely. Here too we have the manufacturers’ approval for our equipment and it is backed by our rapid and high-quality service.”