Interview with Stefan Wirtgen and Jürgen Wirtgen
You have been managing the WIRTGEN GROUP for thirteen years, and have transformed it into the global player it is today. You are joint managing partners of the WIRTGEN GROUP, which currently employs a staff of 6,700 worldwide. Allow us to ask you some questions in keeping with your commitment: “Close to our customers.”
What is the essence of your company philosophy?
Our company philosophy focuses on creating and cultivating a partnership with our customers that is based on mutual trust. Its central idea, “Close to our customers”, is put into action – and that is the crucial point – by our staff around the globe, day after day, while rendering a broad scope of different services. This fundamental way of thinking makes our customers the focal point of our activities.
In what way does being close to your customers express itself?
Our customers can fully rely on, and will find a reliable partner in, every single employee of the WIRTGEN GROUP. Close relations to our customers begin long before a machine is actually sold, and continue in a long-term partnership.
What are the constituents of your business strategy?
State-of-the-art production plants, innovative products, international sales and service; these are the pillars, that is, the key elements of our business strategy. For all three performance aspects, we have outstanding specialists on board who drive their continued development and orientation towards the future judiciously and with utmost dedication.
What helped you secure your market-leading position?
Our leading position in the market results from the unceasing, combined effort of all our employees at our specialized main plants, system partners, subsidiaries and dealers around the world. With our comprehensive product programmes and wide range of customer services, we are a reliable partner to our customers on a global scale, offering a broad portfolio of solutions.
What is the force driving the innovative product development in your companies?
Our products are the result of an unceasing drive within the WIRTGEN GROUP to keep creating ever more economically efficient and ever more environmentally friendly solutions to offer to our customers. Our outstanding power of innovation inspires our specialized teams to develop products and offer services that will assist our customers also in opening up new business opportunities.
What do your employees appreciate most about your company?
Our employees appreciate the advantages our family-owned business offers in terms of flat hierarchies, short decision-making channels, and a wide scope for personal initiative. To add to the inspiration of the teams, all employees are invited, in accordance with their personal skills, to contribute not only their long-standing experience and systematic way of thinking but also their natural resourcefulness and love to try out new things.
What is the WIRTGEN GROUP's opinion on equal opportunities of men and women? (Statement according to § 289a Section 4 German Commercial Code [HGB])
Our employees make the WIRTGEN GROUP stable, strong and successful. Education and training, skill enhancement as well as the advancement of the individual strengths of each single employee are held high. The decisive factors for us are the motivation, qualification and specific skills of a person, irrespective of nationality, ethical background, religion and sex. We are proud and happy that more and more women get into the mechanical engineering industry and decide to start a career within WIRTGEN GROUP.
Today, within the ultimate parent company of WIRTGEN GROUP the percentage of women is already at 39%, the proportion of women in executive positions is 17%. It is the target to increase this to more than 20% till the end of 2017.
How do you handle ups and downs in your companies?
Downs motivate our employees to optimize processes in the interest of our customers. Our high level of flexibility keeps us focused, inspiring our employees to commit to the kind of professionalism that enables us to continuously improve our performance. During ups, when we achieve above-average results, we primarily cultivate a down-to-earth attitude. We are all very sensitized so as not to exchange our philosophy of attentive and professional customer service for arrogance.
What thought gives you the greatest confidence?
We feel at ease knowing that our employees are highly motivated to satisfy and inspire pure excitement in our customers every day. We can rely on our employees to neglect no possible way of doing so and to make customer requirements the focal point of their activities using all resources available to them.
What is of crucial importance for the future of the WIRTGEN GROUP?
The future of the WIRTGEN GROUP is rooted in the wholeheartedness and strong dedication of our employees to support our customers with their professionalism and service mentality. Strengthened by a sustainable investment policy, our employees drive the development of our main production plants and of our sales and service companies worldwide.