Jürgen Köppel

Jürgen Köppel, Member of the Board-Sales, Service and Marketing, Homag Group speaks to us on the upcoming LIGNA, smart machines, lightweight construction and most importantly the service- right on the floors of LIGNA Preview. Here is the replica.

woodandpaneleurope Homag Treff witnessed a huge success. The financial year also recorded increased order intake! What do you think is the main reason behind this success?

Jürgen Köppel:I don’t think there is only one main reason for this success; there are various reasons which are very important. First of all, I think our global footprint is very important, because presently, markets are going up, markets are going down- but by being globally available and by being globally present in sales, service marketing and also in production. It is very good to have everywhere where the market is up to being there available.

The second important reason is our innovation leadership. That means we want to be ahead of the market. There is a saying that good companies are following trends, excellent companies are setting trends- and that’s exactly what we want to do. We listen to our customers, we look at their processes and we want to create machines, we want to create software and also services and additionally also all the post production processes in order to support them in the optimum way. That is very important – that means, customer satisfaction as a driver of our growth and profitability.

woodandpaneleurope We have seen a lot of discussion in smart machines! How smart would you grade your machines or how smart are your machines?

Jürgen Köppel: Okay, the question is when is the machine smart? Everybody is talking about Industry 4.0. In Homag Group, software and intelligence is already since long time, a point. And in 2013, we introduced the HMI-the Human Machine Interface called PowerTouch- which was taken from smart phones and tabs and the idea is to get this intelligence on the machine. For example, we would introduce big production lines during the LIGNA which is 100 m long- totally connected not only from the automation site and also from the data site- here we have a so called MMR system i.e. Machine Monitoring and Recording System. Now what are these two! This is monitoring the whole line, and if we see there is any issue coming up, then the machine would be slowed down a little bit- so the exchange of the part will take place in the break time and not during production. That means that’s the intelligent we want to put in. This avoids shut down; avoid problems by an intelligent machine.

woodandpaneleurope How has been the response to new Ambition 2480 and the HOLZMA 5 series? With the new 5 series, how efficient is the extraction performance?

Jürgen Köppel: I think the important aspect, the new Ambition 2480 coming out from Homag in Schopfloch and the Holzma series coming out of Holzbronn- was a very important step which we did from small and medium size companies. The feedback from the market is excellent, now specially first of all, in Central Europe, but for sure, I think, both machine types especially the Ambition for the small and mid size companies or the Holzma 5 for bigger companies- the feedback should be globally good.

woodandpaneleurope Is it too early to ask your expectations from LIGNA 2015?

Jürgen Köppel: No, when we are talking about our LIGNA set up, we are always talking about figures. We want to have new customers, we want to have additional offers and we want to go into market areas which are not directly connected with the name Homag – that means in the, I call it composite materials- which are not simply made out of wood and wood fibres but where we have also carbon fibres or where you have CFK, GFK and then also as lightweight boards, which are also not have necessarily wood inside- like bamboos and straws- so this also a direction where want to go- may be a little bit different.

woodandpaneleurope Close to a year following Homag group’s acquisition of Stiles Machinery. How is Homag Group performing in the US since then?

Jürgen Köppel: We had always our share in Stiles, this is indeed a long partnership we had. For us, it was a window of opportunities that Mr Peter
Kleinschmidt wanted to retire. For him, it was always a target that he wanted to have his company in good hands. Therefore, it was a target of opportunity for us. But I would like to state, Stiles was before, we took over it, already an excellent company- customer oriented, customer dedicated, therefore there are some other synergies as well- like sometimes Homag Group can learn something from Stiles, or vice versa- once it comes to bigger machine lines, or our engineering capabilities. And it was great measure for me as our Regional Director for North America took over the position of CEO of Stiles as he had worked with Stiles for the last eight years.

woodandpaneleurope Homag group has literally expanded throughout the world! How do you manage to cater to the diverse need of the industry, specially the service?

Jürgen Köppel: That was one of the most important steps that we did in 2009 in the crisis. When I took over as Board Member for sales, service and marketing during the crisis, the question was how we can come quickly out of the crisis and the point was customer satisfaction. And there, service and support are the key issues. Therefore, during that time, we hired additional service people, we set up our hotline services, we also increased the speed for computer aided support like the MMR system. These are the points where we invested. The biggest or most critical aspect is not everywhere in the world you find people who can talk English or German, and therefore we invested in local people- like Japanese, Chinese etc. This is very critical because during a night shift in China or a night shift in Australia or Thailand- they don’t need support by a German speaking person- they need support in local language. So Singapore is one of the turn hubs and the other one is in Central Europe and now with acquisition with Stiles, we have strong point also in the North American continent.


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