Rounding off our
As of 1st September 2023, Dr. Sven Schumacher will be part of our management. This appointment of the 43-year-old completes the future-oriented structure of our management.
Sven Schumacher will officially join the management with effect from 1st September 2023. With the appointment of the 43-year-old, we will conclude the long-term establishment of our management. This step had already been previously signalled when we announced the retirement of Norbert Hüttenhölscher as well as the coinciding introduction of Rolf Beckhoff last November.
"We are delighted that we were able to win Sven Schumacher for us," declared our managing directors Rolf Beckhoff and Daniel Hüttenhölscher. This native of the Rhineland is very well known to both of them, both professionally and privately. "With our multifaceted experiences and different backgrounds, we are a perfect complement to one another within the management," explains Rolf Beckhoff.
Sven Schumacher first began working for Miele in 2013 after completing his mechanical engineering studies and subsequent doctorate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology. In his current role as Managing Director, he is responsible for the Eurofilters subsidiary in Belgium. In his early days at Miele, he was entrusted with the project planning and commissioning of production facilities. Subsequently, Schumacher realised the development of a new production plant in Poland and, following completion, was appointed production manager and ultimately took on the role of managing director.
"I understand customised machine engineering from the customer's perspective and I very much look forward to contributing all my experience to Hüttenhölscher," says Sven Schumacher. Together with his wife and two sons, the 43-year-old has lived in Verl now for the last ten years. "It's nice to finally settle here professionally and to take on such an exciting task in my new homeland." The whole team looks forward to working together with Sven Schumacher in the future and we are absolutely convinced that we are well placed for the future and for the next steps in our development.
Many people still associate Rolf Beckhoff with his role as CEO at the Aumann AG. But for the past six months he has been Spokesperson for the Management Board at Hüttenhölscher. In this interview he will explain what makes working for a family-run business so appealing, why he will certainly not leave the “LIGNA” exhibition before Wednesday evening and why special mechanical engineering definitely holds the potential of becoming highly addictive for him.
It is virtually a tradition that Hüttenhölscher will again be present when the LIGNA exhibition opens its doors. What are the innovations waiting to be discovered this year?
The solutions we intend to showcase this time mirror the challenges facing the woodworking industry but interestingly and unsurprisingly they also exactly reflect social developments. A major issue revolves around the lack of skilled workers, a problem which we as a mechanical engineering company are also experiencing first-hand. Against such a backcloth, we are seeing an increasing need for intelligent automation of manual processes – for reasons of capacity but also in order to maintain a constantly high degree of quality. We have amended and extended our product portfolio accordingly and can now see growth potential in this field. And that is also the case with solutions that involve the second mega topic of the moment and of the future.
And what is that topic?
We’re talking here data, digitalisation and all the possibilities connected with these subject areas. One such important area deals with image processing systems, which we are implementing more and more as a digital tool but here one also shouldn’t forget virtual partial and/or full commissioning processes. That is why we are keen to invite the visitors to our exhibition stand to discover our digital production lines with the help of virtual reality, thus taking part in all these exciting developments. Actually, in just the same way as we can participate in the developments experienced by our customers and partners.
What kind of developments do you mean?
One example would be the way that new kitchen furniture concepts are currently arriving on the scene – it’s a fact that kitchen design is always reinventing itself. We can offer the relevant automated solutions that then meet market requirements.
So the world in which you find yourself will never become boring and lacklustre even though you, as a mechanical engineer and industrial engineer, have been immersed in technology for a good three decades?
I must admit that the subjects of automation and special machinery can make some people a little bit addicted – and I’m one of them! (Laughs) It is simply the innovative nature of this world, the constantly new challenge, which over the years undergoes a metamorphosis as a result of technical possibilities and market requirements. Today, for example, control technology plays at least as big a part as traditional mechanics. That makes this whole field so extremely fascinating and never dull and boring for a single second.
In your role as Spokesperson for the Management Board at Hüttenhölscher, you yourself are also a little bit of a “novelty” in this family-run business. What has Hüttenhölscher got that Aumann hasn’t?
(Laughs) I wouldn’t say that. That one company has what the other one doesn’t! It is simply different. And indeed, we can see a great deal more similarities than differences
Which ones are they?
The business model known as “Special Mechanical Engineering”, i.e. production lines for industrial series production and all the associated requirements of project business are more or less identical. That makes it so easy for me to move almost seamlessly into the matter in hand here. But, of course, we are dealing with a different clientele. I was previously operating in the automotive sector but now it’s all about furniture, that is kitchen furniture, and also other new areas. And I found the idea of working in a family business quite tempting – an undertaking where value is placed on the long-term nature of the business and on partnership and where communication channels are comparatively fast and direct. This family feeling is something that I sense at work every day.
The company founder Norbert Hüttenhölscher retired six months ago when you joined the business. What is it like walking in such footsteps?
I take my hat off to Norbert Hüttenhölscher and to all his fellow workers and I have the greatest respect for everything that they have got off the ground. But I can never say this often enough – I simply can’t just walk in his footsteps. Because I am a different person with a different background. And because I can offer other aspects and advantages which I have absorbed and experienced in the business world over the years. And this includes what I have learnt in training courses during my professional development. The chiming together of technology, the market, customers and colleagues makes this challenge a thrilling one.
What are the next steps forward for Hüttenhölscher?
When I came here, I found a company that is sound and also very well positioned in the economic, technical and cultural sense. And in the past weeks and months, so much potential for further development has come to the fore. So that the company can continue to develop on a financially sound trajectory and grow along structured lines, the first step surely has to be the strengthening of its foundations.
How do you plan to “reinforce” these?
To this end we are currently focusing on a whole range of internal processes to see if we can make them even more efficient. And, at the same time, when I chat with colleagues, I get to hear about so many ideas and possibilities that they have on how we could open up new markets. At the moment, though, I’m concentrating on just listening and then I ask questions to understand exactly what they mean. I think that they can expect that approach from me. Then, when the time is ripe, I can expect from them a receptiveness to change.
How have you been received as the first manager at Hüttenhölscher from “outside” ?
It cannot be taken for granted that such a constellation will work. An organisation like this one has to first of all take the newcomer into the fold. And particularly when it comes to special mechanical engineering, people really eye you up to see if you’ve got any clue about technology. (Laughs) And now, after six months in the company, I can say that the constellation works.
Visitors to the trade fair will also have the chance of speaking to you. When can people see you at the LIGNA?
I’m arriving at the exhibition on Monday and will certainly not be leaving before Wednesday evening because that is when we’re having our stand’s party. (Laughs) There will be live music with “Gentleman Dee”, a really cool saxophonist. And we will also be serving some pretty delicious cocktails.
There are specials on the drinks list, too, such as the “River Oelbach Punch” and “Verl Libre”. These are a nod to your home town of Verl where you now recently not only live but also work ...
Until I started work at Hüttenhölscher, I had never worked in Verl – and now I really appreciate swapping my commute for more free time. But my connection with the Hüttenhölscher family hasn’t only come to pass because we have the same home town. It began many years ago in the little community of Beelen in the district of Warendorf in our German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
How did that come about?
In those days Daniel Hüttenhölscher and I were colleagues at the company then known as Claas Fertigungstechnik, today operating as Aumann. So through the years I’ve kept an eye on the Hüttenhölscher company and Daniel and I have always remained in contact. The mix of a familiar business model, a family enterprise and a job in my home town definitely has great appeal. I truly believe it is a win-win situation for all concerned. And for me personally, it also smacks a little of finally coming home.
Our factory FROM ABOVE
Sometimes the bird's eye view helps to get a different look at things: In this case, we really took a bird's eye view and looked at our main factory from above. The result was some interesting new views. Have fun!