14. October 2010

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Mr Reichelt, what are the bonds that connect you to the company and to your father?

I grew up with BLOCK - although perhaps it would be better to say that I grew up as part of the company. When our very first hall was built, I was there to help lay its foundations.

My father and I have a very close relationship, and even though we might have different opinions about things, we complement each other because of that. Not only is the difference in our ages reasonably small, but my father's work has also helped keep him young. I believe it's important to make the most of the knowledge he's gained, and keeps gaining all the time - it's important both for me personally and the company as a whole.

With around 700 employees, your social responsibility requires considerable commitment. What value do you place on personnel management?

It's the employees who are the greatest resources the company has - not the directors! We need to not only manage but also provide our senior management team with assistance in finding solutions. Whenever I can, I try to make sure my door is open for our employees to come and speak to me directly.

I like to discuss things and have productive sessions with my staff. One thing I want is for them to understand more about the job they have in their particular department than I do. BLOCK doesn't want yes-men, but people who can voice constructive criticism and who possess the expertise to back it up.

What makes working at BLOCK so appealing?

The opportunities we offer are huge - and that goes for all our employees, not just for the members of the family behind the company. Our products and services are hot property because of the quality they offer, and that's never going to change. We employ new staff members even when the economy is going through tough times. BLOCK is indeed a family company, but that doesn't just mean that it is a company run by a family - both the management team and the employees see themselves as part of one big community, and it's that sense of commitment and solidarity that keeps us working together. Employer-employee relationships lasting for many years are beneficial to both sides.

You have a strong presence on the global market as a medium-sized company. What does BLOCK do differently from other companies of a similar size?

Well, if you believe what management consultants have to say, then we're not doing anything right! We don't outsource anything and instead deal with virtually every single one of the company's activities ourselves. We reckon we've got what it takes to get it right in most areas - that means in-house research, development, production and dispatching facilities, as well as our own purchasing and sales services throughout the world. After all, the ability to provide everything from a single source is the reason for BLOCK's success.

So even the factors that are supposedly negative make BLOCK stronger: having a highly efficient research department in-house as well as production facilities which are truly vast means we can guarantee not only short development and production times but also quick delivery, even for components and systems that are custommade and full of innovative solutions. Things are good at BLOCK!

Is there anything you could do better than your father?

Well, there are a few things I'd do differently! How we fare in the future will depend on our abilities to advertise our products, skills and strengths in a way that attracts even more attention than before, and to define our place in the market even more clearly. We need to strengthen our sales activities if we want to achieve the number one spot in Europe and take an intelligent approach to conquering the market. BLOCK needs to put its name even more boldly on the map, not only in Europe but also throughout the world. Our customers recognise that the products they get from BLOCK come with added value. We don't follow a pricing strategy - instead we place our trust in quality and customer benefits.

How does the future look to you?

Very optimistic! Our first aim is to be number one in Germany, and then in Europe. Although components were "all" we provided in the past (for mechanical engineering, for example), customers who are aware of what it takes to be successful in the future increasingly expect us to manufacture complete solutions. And our research, development, purchasing, production and logistics facilities are all perfectly geared up to cater to those expectations. Our efficient manufacturing methods and high vertical range of manufacture ensure short production times as well as short delivery periods for components and systems that are custom-made and full of innovative solutions. We are convinced that we can reach our goals in the foreseeable future.

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