Start the new year with esprit
The Lower Rhine has produced global market leaders: 30 years ago the family business Scheidt & Bachmann installed its first ticket machine in Stuttgart. Now this ‘hidden champion’ is preparing to revolutionize ticket sales in local public transport. Just one of many innovations to emerge from the high-tech epicenter in Mönchengladbach.
Mönchengladbach. The world of local transport could be so simple if you could just find your way round the complicated tariffs of the transport companies. How nice it would be to just get on a bus or train without having to fight your way through the ticket jungle first. Utopia? Not for the development engineers at the Mönchengladbach company Scheidt & Bachmann. “We were able to develop a device that solves this problem once and for all,” the Chairman of the Management Board, Dr. Norbert Miller, declares happily. “The guests are given a small device about the size of a USB stick and then just get on board.” The electronics does the rest. Printed tickets are now a thing of the past. The future belongs to “esprit”, as the electronic ticket will be called. Something that seems so incredible is set to become reality soon. “We will start our pilot project in the middle of 2009, and will move on to series production as soon as possible thereafter.” When asked whether the company isn’t digging its own grave with the “esprit”, the voluntary judge at the commercial court says with great conviction, “If we don’t enter the market with this innovation, others will. So I would prefer if we were the first. Then we hold on to the business. That is also part of our corporate philosophy.”
That is just one example of the family business’s enthusiasm for innovation. The company is now in its fifth generation and employs around 1,800 staff worldwide. About a thousand of them live and work at the headquarters in Mönchengladbach. Norbert Miller cannot imagine his company producing somewhere in the Bavarian forest or, even worse, abroad. “Our company has much deeper roots in the Lower Rhine region than most companies,” the 46-year-old says, paying homage to the region. The company set up home in Mönchengladbach in 1872 and is one of the biggest employers in the region. “This is a high-quality and innovative place. We feel at home here. And we can only find the motivated and flexible staff we need for the production and sales of our products here. The Lower Rhine region is a very valuable asset to us,” the successful entrepreneur, who also became the Vice President of the Chambers of Commerce in the region in 2007, explains.
Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH is one of the world’s leading specialists for multi-storey car parks and leisure facilities, fare management, filling stations and signaling technology. Since the German market is saturated, the Lower Rhine company is concentrating on business abroad. By 2012 the company intends to increase the percentage of revenue that comes from exports, which amounted to about 230 million euros in 2007, to 40 to 60 percent. “Our expansion will continue to focus on Europe, whereby we have our eye on the new EU member states in particular.”
The employees are the lifeblood of the company at Scheidt & Bachmann. “We build a bridge between tradition and modern trends every day,” Miller continues. “And that’s where our employees play an important role.” Every year the company spends about three million euros on training and further training. At the moment 80 young people are being trained in various occupations. And the following figures are proof that the vocational training has been very fruitful for many years: out of the 294 trainees that have trained at Scheidt & Bachmann in the last ten years, 26 were declared among the best in the country. “At Scheidt & Bachmann, since 1998 the company has been home to over 230 employees who have worked here for more than 25 years. Some have even reached 50 years of employment at the company,” Dr. Norbert Miller says with the pride of a socially responsible entrepreneur.
Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH
Breite Straße 132
Tel.: +49 2166 / 266-0
Fax: +49 2166 / 266-375