L.t.r.: C.Füssel, A. Tingvall, J.Mayer, E.Burgers, W.Ruhnau
The Altendorf Group based in Minden, Germany, was established in 2018 after the investment firm Avedon Capital Partners of Düsseldorf acquired the company Altendorf Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG of Minden in 2017. The mission of the Altendorf Group is to bring together under one roof companies in the wood-processing machinery industry to provide the best technology for the three most critical processing areas of sawing, edgebanding and drilling/milling to the global panel-processing trade. The initial steps in this effort have been successfully taken. In 2018, the Altendorf Group acquired Hebrock, a company based in Hüllhorst, Germany, that has been developing and producing internationally popular edgebanders since 1984. In January 2019, Altendorf Group America was established in Mooresville, North Carolina, to market the Altendorf and Hebrock brands in the strong U.S. market. In the processing area of drilling/milling, already there have been promising opening discussions and negotiations, which should produce results still within 2019.
The Altendorf Group brand – actively shaping the future of skilled trades
Andreas Tingvall has been the CEO of the Altendorf Group since February 2019. Tingvall together with his team of Evert Burgers (CFO), Carsten Füssel (CTO), Jörg F. Mayer (CSO) Wolfgang Ruhnau (COO) as well as the managing directors of Hebrock GmbH, Anja Hebrock-Kiel and Frank Hebrock, has developed a high-impact brand strategy for the Altendorf Group: “We believe that we cannot approach digital change passively as a challenge to overcome. Rather, we must be a driving force in the digital transformation of skilled trades. We will do this by making our customers and their business the focal point of our decisions and our own development. Our mission at the Altendorf Group is to actively help to shape the future of skilled trades. If we fail to accomplish this, we will not achieve the long-term success we want to achieve. There is a good reason why everybody is using the term ‘customer experience’ today when the development of digital strategies is discussed.” He added that the key questions are: How do our customers view us as a brand? How do they perceive our products? How helpful are our services to them? Tingvall and his team believe the answers to these questions will shape the way the Altendorf Group brand is perceived.
Digitalisation of products and services
The new group structure enables it to move digitalisation projects forwards much faster than was possible when the businesses were still separate entities. The Altendorf Group intends to seize this opportunity in order to develop digital services for both Hebrock users and Altendorf customers. For this reason, expansion of online machine registration is the top strategic goal on the Group’s agenda. The more the Group knows about the machines currently being used in the market, the faster and better it can provide customised replacement parts and repair services. The connection of machines to one another, online maintenance service offerings and a link to production management systems can then be developed with specific needs in mind. The specific benefits for skilled trades will include improved process structure in the workshop and significantly less machine downtime.
A focus on dialogue with customer: the first user platform for skilled trades
The project called “User Platform” shows just how seriously the Altendorf Group is taking the topic of customer experience. The Group’s first global digital platform for customers will go online in May 2019. The Altendorf Group Forum is designed to integrate customers into a broad range of processes. Various forums will provide customers and users with the opportunity to communicate directly with each other and share information, which should strengthen the global community in the long term. Associated crowd-sourcing projects will help to facilitate the development of products that customers really need in order to work even more successfully in future. And the term “product” should not be limited to only hardware: In particular, there is a focus on future online service products which will complement remote maintenance with such things as financing solutions, online training and many more.
Providing skilled trades with safety
“The ever-important matter of safety will naturally remain front and centre of research and development work across all of our products over the coming years,” said Jörg F. Mayer, the Head of Global Sales and Service. The Altendorf Group will incorporate the highest safety standards from all parts of the world into product development in order to set standards itself. The initial results will be presented at LIGNA 2019. Other ideas and technical solutions will be introduced and discussed in the closed user platform with the aim of creating an international plan for the future steps. Skilled trades and all customers of the Altendorf Group should be able to rest assured that its products meet the highest safety standards, no matter where they use a product of the Altendorf Group around the world.
Strengthening the brand image
The strong product brands of the Altendorf Group define its image and have gained an exceptional reputation around the world. Over the medium term, the Group is planning to integrate the award-winning machine design of Altendorf sliding table saws into the machines made by Hebrock. All edgebanders with this design will be showcased for the first time at LIGNA 2019. The consistently uniform design signature will define the Group’s entire image in future and create a singular global brand image for the Altendorf Group. Machine design will not be limited solely to appearance but also apply to the machines’ controls. The Group’s design signature will embody high-quality, timeless brand design that will create confidence and high brand recognition among users.
Ensuring customer centricity
The Altendorf Group will not just simply focus on its customers in digital terms. Through the systematic use of sales synergies, all product brands will be rapidly distributed to more than 130 countries in the world. Existing sales partnerships will be expanded and strengthened when possible. Where necessary, the Altendorf Group will employ its own sales companies to create the closest-possible relationship with markets and customers. We will ensure that our customers and products will have local access to the very best service offered by the Altendorf Group brand.