Hoppen Innenausbau can't be topped
Hoppen Innenausbau in Mönchengladbach is not your typical carpentry. Everything is very different at Hoppen – and very successful at the same time. The business newspaper "Wirtschaftsblatt" awarded the three owners the title "Entrepreneurs of the Year" in 2010, the Kulturkreis der Deutschen Wirtschaft (Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy) chose Hoppen as the winner of the 2009 Deutsche Kulturförderpreis (German Arts Sponsorship Award), Minister Ursula von der Leyen awarded the business with a prize for its "family-friendly HR policies". Hoppen also carried off other awards, such as "Office of the Year" and "Best Office". What is the secret to its success? Creativity and workmanship are the key requirements. But Hoppen also has the declared intention of being one of the best. Other clues can be found in the corporate principles: the number one objective is customer satisfaction. "The customer is the most important person in the business." But not everyone can become a customer. There are enough orders coming in, and no need to chase every possible business opportunity. Hoppen only works with partners and customers who attach great importance to compliance with the agreed payment periods. "We choose our customers," Ralf Hoppen says, without sounding the least bit arrogant. Hoppen no longer takes part in any calls for tenders.
Behind every success, behind every recipe there are special people: Hoppen Innenausbau is a family business. The trio consists of master carpenter Ralf Hoppen (48), who did his Abitur (German school leaving certificate allowing university entrance) at adult education college in the evenings, his wife Katrin (45), who comes from the hotel sector, and cousin Peter Hoppen (49), who studied business studies. As kids the cousins played together in the sandpit, later running riots with their mopeds round the Rheindahlen area. Even before they started the company together in 1988, the logo was ready: the name Hoppen with a red sphere in place of the "O". Hoppen explored new avenues from the very beginning. Back then it was not usual for craftsmen to put advertising on building site fences. Today the company is praised as a fantastic example of the future of German craftsmanship.
The business masters the full range of interior construction and offers everything from a single source. Hoppen has a long list of references, from the first German Mod's hair salon in Mönchengladbach, the Düsseldorf Fashion House, several H&M fashion stores, car dealerships such as BMW Hammer, banks, hotels, steak houses, advertising agencies and doctors' surgeries. For more than 25 years Hoppen has been working for Japanese institutions and companies, from the embassy to Toshiba and Hitachi. Hoppen is a member of Creative Partner, a nation-wide alliance of 204 top-performing interior construction companies. A visit to the business by colleagues set the wheels in motion. Ten "consultants" mercilessly analyzed the business and came up with points of criticism. The Hoppen trio began turning the business upside down. Perhaps the best measure that Hoppen implemented is the "Seal of Quality Programme" of the Berufsgenossenschaft Holz (professional timber trade association) with the goal of ensuring more occupational safety and health protection at work. The work stations were re-organized, heavy toolboxes were mounted on wheels, what used to be stored on the floor was hung up on the wall at the right grip height. Together with the health insurance fund, the company analysed the movement processes to put an end to poor posture. To this end some machines in the hall were moved. A computerised material procurement process ensures safety, less stress and a streamlined workshop.
Hoppen is not just a family business on the top-floor level. Family is important throughout the company. Two mothers, or as Hoppen sees them, "extremely well-qualified staff", work in the office. The working hours are arranged very flexibly so that they can meet the needs of both the children and the business. Both have access to the IT system at home too, and telephones calls can be forwarded to their homes. Accommodating the staff's needs this way brings its rewards. The staff get actively involved. Everyone got on board to make the business a smoke-free business. Another example is the Lower Rhine music festival: it started with building a stage seven years ago. Then light and sound were added. Over the years this turned into an indispensable voluntary commitment. Trainees and young members of the team pick up the young musicians from the airport and show them the area in their free time. Today the festival bookkeeping is done at Katrin Hoppen's desk. She also regularly writes a style column in the home interiors and design magazine "Schöner Wohnen" and is involved in Netzwerk W in Mönchengladbach which helps women re-join the workplace after taking time off to raise a family. And despite all this commitment and success, they have remained wonderfully grounded. They are not tempted into venturing out into the world. Mönchengladbach is their home. The Hoppens love the Lower Rhine region and focus their work on this region too.
Hoppen Innenausbau GmbH
Tel. 02166 99 190-0