Technical brilliance arises not only in the great, world-shaking innovations. So that it runs smoothly in the economy, so that complex systems, machines and vehicles work precisely in every part, it requires competent suppliers at all levels. A paragon for this in the field of drive technology: the family business Grünewald from Germany.
Worldwide, but especially in the German economy, it is mainly medium-sized family businesses who, as suppliers, are making the realization of great ideas possible in the first place. Highly specialized, customer-oriented and flexible are they the reliable partners of the large-scale industry. Reason enough to provide them a platform at the World Technology Leader Award as well.
This year the Nomination Committee has chosen Grünewald Feinmaschinenbau. The company manufactures cardan shafts, transmission and steering components. The components are used in automobiles, rail vehicles and ships, in industrial applications and even in motor racing. In short: If things should run smoothly, parts from the Grünewald production are used.
Precision in detail
Grünewald is thereby one of those supply companies that have a small, but indispensable share on the world renown of the products of automobile manufacturers like Daimler or mechanical and plant engineering companies. Because with its shafts and homokinetic joints as well as entire assemblies, Grünewald stands for those precision in detail that complex technology solutions require.
The company with 240 employees is a typical representative out of the “German Mittelstand”, therefore those medium-sized family-run companies that typically have a long tradition but short paths. So, they are able to act quickly, to flexibly implement the wishes of their industrial customers and in doing so to deliver high quality. In 1946, the company started in a wooden barrack with the production of padlocks. Today, the component manufacturing has long been international.
Zero-defect strategy in the blood
“We do not develop ourselves but live entirely for the implementation of our customers’ ideas”, describes managing director Carola Grünewald the corporate philosophy. Product development is supported by the prototype to serial production of the customer products.
Given is the already proverbial quality “Made in Germany”. This is not least documented by the certifications in almost all industry-relevant certifications. “We are continuously optimizing the zero-defect strategy and, to achieve this goal, have already at an early stage established a quality management system”, describes Carola Grünewald the claim.
When innovations get into their last production cycles
But not only for a contribution to the latest developments in these industries Grünewald is in demand. Also, when former innovations enter their last cycles, the company is available as a partner. Then the company takes over for example entire production plants of its customers in order to take over and optimize the ongoing phase-out and spare part production of the products.
The change in the economy, especially in the automotive industry and especially in the drive area, requires constant reorientation and adaptation in the supplier industry as well. “The E-mobility and autonomous driving are currently changing the market of combustion engines and transmissions extremely. Development takes place exclusively in the field of e-mobility and hydrogen propulsion”, states Carola Grünewald the actual tasks. Also, in these new market’s orders are already being processed and nationally as well as internationally further markets are opened up.
Go along with technological innovations
The flexibility to go along with this change and the technological innovations is proven expertise in family businesses like Grünewald. After all, today’s managing director is already the third owner generation. And as is typical for owner-managed companies, proximity to customers, speed and just flexibility are the building blocks of success. And without such partners, in the end even the biggest innovations would not come to run.