Companies in times of change

Steinbeis helps medium-sized companies pass the baton to the next generation

Long-term survival in the market is of central importance to every family business. To develop sustainably and if possible, hand operations on to the next generation, a company has to instill value, not just in monetary terms. Accordingly, to keep pace with current and future demands, a company will need to change. The tasks that managers have to deal with these days are becoming more and more complex, and as market developments gather pace, decision-making deadlines are shortening. Decisions have to be well thought through and implemented rigorously – one area the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Business Development & Corporate Control helps with.

The Steinbeis experts support family businesses in particular during phases of business development. They do this by developing plausible and practical concepts and helping with implementation. Typical benchmarks during the planning phase are consistency of action, the sustainability of improvements and safeguarding earnings. “We pay particularly close attention to striking a healthy balance by looking at the company, the manager, the family and the employees as a holistic entity,” explains Gerd Birkhold, who heads up the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Business Development & Corporate Control.

These were also the main areas of focus during a joint project with machining technology specialist, Kümmel, a family-run business now in its third generation. The firm received close support from Gerd Birkhold during the transferal of the business from the previous owner, Rolf Kümmer to his son-in-law, Jürgen Altenburger.

The succession concept was based on a systematic business plan, showing clearly how the company would continue to develop in the future in a way that would also safeguard finances. Working with the company’s tax advisors and its bank, the succession process went ahead smoothly and came to a successful conclusion.

Business decisions are now planned systematically, according to longterm success criteria, with regular financial controls in place to monitor progress. This even made it possible to come through the most difficult part of the financial crisis almost unscathed. Looking forward, Jürgen Altenburger is now confident. The company gained official certification under DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 last year and investments have been made in technology developments to respond to growing demand for the company’s premium products.

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