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New challenges right from the start

In spite of storm damage, the new Geiger-Team is making good progress
New challenges right from the start

Whoever believed that the change in management would be uneventful, had not reckoned with a hail storm. However, the new management team at Geiger coped successfully with their first big challenge.

Dr. Rolf Langbein Journalist in Rottenburg

Over the past 45 years Hans-Jürgen Geiger has built up his company to the point of becoming a global player. At the Jubilee in the middle of last year – at the same time he celebrated his 70th birthday – he announced that he was planning to withdraw from his active management role. That was almost a year ago.
He has always been supported by reliable companions: His brother Willi, who concentrated on machine sales, his daughters Barbara and Claudia and his nephew Michael Richter who joined the team in 1990. Since the beginning of February this year, his brother Willi and his nephew are officially in charge of the Hans-Jürgen Geiger Maschinen-Vertrieb GmbH in Metzingen. The sectors IT and Sales will continue to be led by the 48-year old Michael Richter. “I am really looking forward to my new responsibilities and the tasks which await me”, he says. Further members of the management team are still Barbara Geiger-Berger and Claudia Geiger-Nannt, both daughters of the company’s founder. Barbara took her degree in business administration, as well as doing an apprenticeship at Messrs. Boss in Metzingen. Claudia did an apprenticeship as advertising specialist and in addition studied business administration with emphasis on marketing. Both of them are responsible for Sales and Marketing in the company. “There are at management level monthly conferences to discuss strategy and make major decisions”, they explain.
All those involved were taken by surprise at the time of the management changes in the middle of last year. A major storm at the end of July with devastating hail that caused significant damage in half of Baden-Württemberg had serious consequences for all the company buildings (1 – 6) as well as the photovoltaic installations. One of the latter had to be completely replaced as all 1000 panels had been destroyed by the hail storm. The newly-retired Managing Director of course gave his full support to the 4 members of the management team in order to overcome the problems caused by the massive hail damage. In the meantime 1200 photovoltaic panels which had been mounted on the roofs of the halls have been replaced. Repair to roofs, windows and roof lights is still being carried out.
The founder of the firm is now taking it a little bit easier, says daughter Claudia, he is however still of great help in purchasing, sales and in export promotion on fairs. After all, it was always his belief that the company should show its products worldwide on trade fairs. This year the Geigers will be present at the Grindtec in Augsburg and on the AMB Nanjing in China. Hans-Jürgen Geiger put in hard work in the European Dealer Association EAMTM, of which he was twice – from 2004–2006 and from 2010–2012 – President, but is now less involved. He is now devoting more time to his favourite hobby skiing and he wants moreover „simply to have more time for himself “, he says.
There are no plans to change the current policy of the company, which specialises in gear cutting machines, for which Geiger is known worldwide. Potential customers will find in the Geiger warehouses and stockrooms machines from all the best-known manufacturers from Germany and Switzerland, irrespective of whether gear hobbing machines, shaping machines or grinding machines. Another speciality is disc lapping machines and, above all in the last few years, coordinate measuring machines.
The successful selling strategy of the Metzingen company has long been based on a multi-track approach. The company has always set great store on printed advertising. In addition, the last few years have shown that good international contacts can be established through internet. The homepage of the company shows 600 of the machines in stock, while at the same time Geiger used machines are to be found on the FDM and EAMTM platforms. Participation in national and international trade fairs is also of great importance. “If possible we always like to show machines”, reports the management team. Whether Resale or Usetec, Geiger machines could always be seen on the International Fair for Used Machines. “This year however we will not be present at Usetec in Cologne”, says Claudia Geiger-Nannt. “Although participation is in the opinion of the management team still an important marketing instrument, Usetec this year does not match our current customer requirement profile”.
In an interview before his retirement, Hans-Jürgen Geiger emphasised the higher demands made by customers on used machines. Corresponding to these demands will continue to play an important part in the strategy of the company. “Right from the beginning I always wanted to deal in modern used machines”, says Geiger, “and for this reason it was always possible for our customers to see machines working”. In the past few years customers increasingly wanted to see sample parts made on a machine before making a buying decision. For this reason he and his team even took a further step: “Nowadays we take photographs of these trial runs and even produce short videos for security of both customers and ourselves”, reports Geiger. The customer can show these back home while he, the dealer, has evidence that he showed the machine in action. The new management team will extend this service and will continue to modernise and extend their unique and high-quality stock of machines.
Metzingen and the Hans-Jürgen Geiger Company will continue to be a „must” for all those wishing to buy used machine tools or coordinate measuring machines. •
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