Family business goes global
Family business goes global Twenty five years after its inception in a small office in east Germany, Dr Günther Inspections is now fully a family firm. Mark Ziegler relates how the supplier of optical inspection systems has been given a boost by the next generation.
Founded in 1995 by Dr Friedrich Günther, the company of the same name supplies high precision camera inspection solutions for container glass, tableware and speciality glass segments. In the spring of 2020, Linda and Tilo Günther became shareholders and executive partners of the family business. Together with their father, they now form the management team of the company and are looking forward to strengthening the global market position of Dr Günther Inspections. “Standing still is going backwards” has been Friedrich Günther’s motto since he started as an entrepreneur in Zwickau, Saxony in 1995. Customer number one was another family-owned company; the Heinz Glas group, with a 400 year history of glassmaking. Inspection machine number one was a customer-specific solution, as there was no appropriate existing solution on the market.
In 2000, a first expansion step was made on the farmyard of the Günther family. As a result of continuous company growth, in 2014 a large and modern headquarters was built in Meerane, south of Leipzig, comprising a 2000m² factory workshop and 600m² for research and development and administration. This site in the heart of Europe is ideal from the logistic viewpoint; more than 20 glass factories in three countries can be reached within a medium road trip and the nearest international airport is just one hour away.
Enlarged executive team
Friedrich Günther completed his doctorate in technics in the cities of Dresden and Zwickau and gained a thorough understanding of optical testing technology, especially in the field of image processing. His son Tilo graduated in electrical engineering and joined the company in 2014. He is concentrating on R&D and project management, propelling the company forward with technical expertise and experience from many customer projects. Daughter Linda completed her studies in business administration, before gaining experience within another business and then moved into the company in 2019. She now heads up the supply chain and business management. In the spring of 2020, it was time to reposition the ownership and management structure of the company. Linda and Tilo became shareholders, forming the leadership team with their father Friedrich. Their main target is preserving the company’s strengths, ensuring it is a leader in high precision inspection, combined with outstanding customer proximity and a quick response technical support. The strong growth of the company is based on a personal corporate culture, with focus on the people. “The customers feel the short internal communication channels and the good team spirit of the company” says Linda Günther, youngest member in the leadership team.
Right from the beginning, the company had a global approach. The first inspection machines were installed at Heinz Glas plants in Poland and Germany. Focus in the initial years was on container glass. Then, in 2010, the portfolio was expanded to tableware. In addition, customer-specific solutions have been designed for kitchenware and other speciality segments. “We are proud to have more than 700 machines in glass plants all over the world in production” confirms Dr Friedrich Günther. “Many international groups or famous regional players are on the customer list, ranging from Ardagh to Gerresheimer, Heinz Glas, O-I, Sisecam or Wiegand Glas.” In addition to R&D investments, focus lies on an expansion of the marketing and sales team. With a strong basis in Europe, other continents like Asia, the Americas and Africa are on the growth map. State-of-the-art remote service and diagnostics capabilities, combined with the use of locally available standard components, makes life easier for operators across the plants.
Published in Glasswordwide Jan/Feb 2021