Domenic G. Ruccolo draws a positive conclusion for his first six months in office as CEO of the WIRTGEN GROUP and gives an exciting outlook on the opportunities offered to the company by its integration into John Deere.
Six months as CEO of the WIRTGEN GROUP – what’s the verdict?
I have been familiar with and have admired the WIRTGEN GROUP for 27 years – ever since I’ve been in the construction industry. WIRTGEN GROUP and John Deere have common distributors and common customers in many different countries around the world. The feedback I received from the field about WIRTGEN GROUP products and employees during all those years was always very positive. That’s why I held a very high opinion of the company right from the beginning, and can now say that my initial impressions far exceed my original assessment. All of the employees are very open-minded, capable, and extremely motivated. At the WIRTGEN GROUP, the employees work with an unprecedented level of efficiency, determination, and focus on solutions. Leading this kind of organization makes every day enjoyable and also pushes me to do my best.
What do you think is the WIRTGEN GROUP’s secret to success?
The employees’ passion to do everything in their power to guarantee their customers’ success at construction sites around the globe. The value proposition “Close to our customers” drives the entire organization. The employees not only know WHAT they are doing and HOW to do it. They are successful because they also know WHY they are doing it. There is no such thing as innovation for innovation’s sake here – instead it serves one purpose: to guarantee customers’ business success and the sustainable operation of construction equipment at the world’s construction sites. The WIRTGEN GROUP’s customer service solutions support this goal. And the fascinating thing in this regard is that the WIRTGEN GROUP’s customers are an essential part of the company’s success story. This is because in our group of companies, advancements are developed together with the customers.
The WIRTGEN GROUP is the customers’ partner and the customers are the WIRTGEN GROUP’s partners. This powerful entity sets the pace for the entire industry. Leading road construction solutions are the result of this unrelenting drive. In this context, the international character of the overall organization helps considerably. Solutions that are not yet known in some markets are already being used profitably somewhere else. New ideas are generated everywhere. Sometimes customers in the most remote regions of the world come up with things that could even help countries with a more advanced infrastructure.
Do you see parallels between the WIRTGEN GROUP and John Deere?
In many areas, the WIRTGEN GROUP’s customers are the engine driving infrastructure expansion. Streets make remote areas accessible, they allow hundreds of thousands of commuters to make their way into the world’s megacities, they connect communities, cities, and countries. Streets drive progress and foster economic growth by creating the required infrastructure.
John Deere is committed to those linked to the land. Those that cultivate and farm the land. And those that build on it. We firmly believe that by serving these people, we help improve the quality of life of people all across the globe. We know the world faces two major challenges in coming decades:
- Feeding a population growing in size and affluence.
- Developing the infrastructure required to support massive urbanization.
Together with the WIRTGEN GROUP, John Deere has a one-of-a-kind position from which to support our customers in meeting both of these challenges. So it’s more than a parallel. It’s a common goal. That’s why the WIRTGEN GROUP is a perfect fit for John Deere and that’s also why Jürgen and Stefan Wirtgen decided to put the future of their company in our hands. The question of the WHY is the same at both of our companies.
What is your assessment of the WIRTGEN GROUP’s factories/manufacturing facilities?
I’m impressed – the modern manufacturing facilities, efficiency of the processes, and particularly the employees’ special spirit are all very impressive. The main facilities in Germany are all completely focused on their respective technology. The employees are highly specialized. The WIRTGEN GROUP’s main factories in Germany are the epitome of efficient factory design and optimum production processes. The WIRTGEN GROUP’s international facilities are focused on the model ranges for each of their specific markets, and the standards in the factories in Brazil, India, and China correspond to the German facilities they are modeled on. We are currently building a completely new facility for the manufacture of asphalt mixing plants for Benninghoven, and this factory will also be the most modern of its kind. The ongoing new construction and expansion measures in the other main facilities are farsighted investments to give the factories the capacity they need to handle the expected growth.
How will things now proceed under your leadership?
Above all else, with continuity. My mission is definitely not to change things, but instead I and the entire Deere & Company management team want to maintain and continue existing structures that have proven to be very successful. The WIRTGEN GROUP – with all of its locations, its brands, products, technologies, its highly effective global sales and service network, and above all, its specialized employees – is an extremely successful entity and that is not going to change. Being part of Deere & Company opens up great new opportunities for us, and it is our joint task to leverage the resulting synergies. Together with all employees of the company, I will drive its sustainable future growth step by step.
How would you assess the performance of the WIRTGEN GROUP under the umbrella of John Deere over the medium term?
When two market-leading, strong companies merge, the result can only be mutually beneficial. John Deere and the WIRTGEN GROUP are going to continue the success story simply as a result of experts from each company discussing their ideas and experience and thanks to products that complement each other perfectly. Deere has been around for 180 years. In our fast-paced world, a company with that long a tradition is usually a sign that the company knows what it’s doing. And as such, Deere’s goal is to give the WIRTGEN GROUP a stable framework which makes it possible for the company to achieve further sustainable growth on its own. As an organization with 70,000 employees, Deere offers the WIRTGEN GROUP a wide range of different options that it can pick and choose as desired. The WIRTGEN GROUP will decide for itself what it needs and where it makes sense to collaborate. And the other way around, the WIRTGEN GROUP will promote the lasting success and further development of John Deere’s Construction & Forestry Division – an exchange of ideas and experience among experts on an equal footing will make that possible, I’m certain of it.
What would you like to say to the WIRTGEN GROUP’s customers?
The WIRTGEN GROUP is still the exact same company it was before the official merger with John Deere. Our products, technologies, services, and your personal contacts at our organization are all the same as before. You can be certain that our customer focus and our desire for you to be successful at construction sites around the world remains the same and will stay that way in the future. We are here for you and want to continue working with you to drive progress. Nothing pleases us more than when you successfully carry out infrastructure projects in all four corners of the globe. That is why we show up for work each and every day. And that is exactly what will drive us in the future.
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