This year marks the 150th anniversary for manufacturer of press and plant systems DIEFFENBACHER. What values have been key to them surviving and thriving for so long? Christian Dieffenbacher, CEO of the family owned enterprise, shares more with Yap Shi Quan the principles that underpin their business strategy and customer relations.
What does DIEFFENBACHER’s anniversary motto, ‘150 years of transformation on solid ground’, mean?
Christian Dieffenbacher: Much has obviously changed since 1873 when my great-greatgrandfather Jakob Dieffenbacher founded the company in Eppingen, Germany. Originally, it was a small locksmith’s shop for cash registers, which later specialised in hydraulic presses for processing fruit, wine and cooking oil.
Yet, for the last 150 years, various threads have run through our company history. One of those threads is transformation. DIEFFENBACHER presses transform a variety of materials into useful products, while DIEFFENBACHER the company has transformed itself to help the industry and society address increasingly complex challenges.
Among those challenges is the careful use of the earth’s valuable resources. As early as 2014, we began to develop solutions that use alternative raw materials and waste materials to manufacture new products. Simultaneously, we have focused on increasing the energy and material efficiency of plants through digital solutions.
With DIEFFENBACHER, it is and always has been about the next step, about progress in the interest of businesses and their customers. Even then, knowing what not to change remains fundamental. Since 1873, the Dieffenbacher family has continuously emphasised reliability, partnership-based cooperation, and the quality of relationships with customers. These are the pillars of our family business, now in its fifth generation. And we have captured a century and a half of corporate development with this motto: ‘DIEFFENBACHER: 150 years of transformation on solid ground.’
Can you share some company milestones in the past decade?
Dieffenbacher: There are many. In 2014, we laid the foundation for our Recycling business unit. We combined components from our existing product portfolio with new sorting and processing technologies from various partners. The result was novel recycling solutions that are not limited to the wood-based panel industry.
A year later, at LIGNA 2015, we introduced our new CPS+ continuous press. More than 70 units have been sold since then, and manufacturers can find them on all continents.
In 2017, we started a two-year consultation process with customers and employees to breathe new life into the DIEFFENBACHER brand. We learnt that partnership and progressive thinking are the two concepts that customers value most about DIEFFENBACHER. At LIGNA 2019, we launched a new brand identity and motto that captured what customers told us: “Move Forward. Together.”
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major challenge for us and everyone else. But I am proud that it did not deter us from ideas of partnership and progressive thinking that underpin our company. At the digital LIGNA event in September 2021, we introduced our holistic smart plant concept CEBRO, which includes the EVORIS digital platform. As a result, wood-based panel manufacturers can digitalise their production plant-wide, independent of make and manufacturer.
Finally, at the beginning of our anniversary year in 2023, we placed ourselves on a broader and more future-proof footing with the acquisition of BERTSCHenergy. The associated establishment of our fourth business unit, the Energy business unit, means we can equip power plants for a range of fuels and cogeneration.
To read the full article, click here or refer to Panels & Furniture Asia September/October 2023 issue.