›A clear visible sign to strengthen the family business and position it as a leader.‹
That is why Günzburger Steigtechnik has completed the brand and paradigm change under the umbrella of the Munk Group.
Under the umbrella of the Munk Group, Günzburger Steigtechnik GmbH gave itself an even more clearly differentiated company structure in autumn 2021 and made it clear: the company is and will remain in the hands of the Munk family. Ferdinand Munk, owner and managing director of the Munk Group, explains in an interview the motives and how he will shape the future process together with his team.
Mr Munk, you have embedded your Günzburger Steigtechnik GmbH, which is very well established on the market, in the Munk Group. Why did this change come about?
Munk: A transformation process like this always has several reasons, and that was of course the same for us. As a family owned company, one always thinks about the future viability of the company and we quickly realised in the course of this discussion: If we want to fully exploit the growth potential of all business areas, then we have to adapt our company structure to the new challenges. That is what we have done. In addition, we as the Munk family also wanted to send a clear signal that our family will continue to stand fully behind the company and its employees in the future. Therefore, we have consciously made this visible in the company name and in the designation of the business units. Whether Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik, Munk Rettungstechnik, Munk Service or our youngest division, Munk Profiltechnik: We, the Munk family, stand by it. And by the way, we have been doing so for four generations now and will continue to do so in the future with the young guard who are already, then in the fifth generation, taking on responsibility in the company.
What exactly is the goal of the reorientation?
Munk: The brand change is also a paradigm shift for us and this is leading the company into a new stage of development. By bringing all the company's divisions together under the Munk Group umbrella brand, we can position ourselves even better than before as the clear leader and innovation leader in occupational safety in the professional access equipment segment. The message is clear: people need safety - and this is clearly represented in the market by the uncompromising quality and intelligent product innovations of the Munk Group.
How much Munk is in the Munk Group?
Munk: Really the whole family! All four children and also our sons-in-law are already working in the various functions and our son-in-law Alexander Werdich was recently appointed to the management. We also want to communicate this conscious responsibility of the family to the outside world, freely according to the motto: One family. One name. One mission.
What is the conclusion after the first few months of the reorientation?
Munk: The response from the market is really great. Of course we had hoped for a positive response, but after the first few months and especially after the first trade fair appearances, for example at the A+A in Düsseldorf, I can say that the feedback has far exceeded our expectations. It seems that we have indeed succeeded in increasing the confidence of our customers and also our important partners in the specialised trade in the strength and innovative spirit of our family-owned company. I am very pleased about that.
Do you have an explanation for this?
Munk: Well, from the very beginning it was very important for us to approach the new brand and company structure from a position of strength. And this was and is visible to everyone: For our Munk Rescue Technology division, we have invested ten million euros in the new company location in Leipheim, which we opened in the summer of 2021. Another ten million euros are currently being invested in expansions at the headquarters in Günzburg, specifically in the access equipment division. This will remain the most important pillar of our company in the future. For this reason, we have also made sure that the well-known and highly valued Günzburger Steigtechnik as Munk Günzburger access equipment will be strengthened as a brand and, of course, also retained as a separate business division. This is clearly due to our popularity and recognition as a leader in technology and innovation for access equipment.
As the claim of the Munk Group you have chosen "Safety. Made in Germany". Why?
Munk: This is our mission and our promise to our customers - and it has been true for 120 years now. Whether for trade, industry, emergency and rescue services or the public sector: professionals trust in the quality of our products, services and solutions. Simply because they can unconditionally rely on the uncompromising quality of access equipment solutions from our company in their daily work. On products that are always one step ahead and thus offer you a decisive added value: maximum work safety day after day. For the most valuable thing you have - your health. It is well known that we consistently stand by "Made in Germany". In 2010, we were the first company ever in Germany to be awarded the certified "Made in Germany" certificate of origin by TÜV Nord.
Is "Made in Germany" still respectable today?
Munk: Absolutely, in fact I think it's more so than ever! We rely on safety made in Germany from the initial idea to production. And for good reason. For us, quality means much more than just the way a product is made. It includes a code of values for ecologically and socially responsible, entrepreneurial action that has been valid for generations. The products we develop and manufacture are thus the exact counterpart to the short-lived disposable products of our time. I can promise you: What leaves our factories should really be a reliable long-term companion for people - in the best case, for a lifetime. And we underline this with a guarantee promise of 15 years on the complete series range made in Germany, which is unique in the industry. Manufactured at our locations in our home district of Günzburg, Germany. Customers can continue to rely on this in the future, because we stand by it. With our name and our family.
So you see "Made in Germany" as a clear promise of safety?
Munk: Yes, because I think that the issue of sustainability is more important than ever right now. People need security. And when I talk about safety, I mean it in every dimension. Safety at work - but also the certainty that products deliver what they promise in all respects. In the past, it was taken for granted that German products stood for virtues such as innovative strength and high-quality workmanship. But today? Many German brands only live on the nimbus of those years. Today, according to many experts, it is enough for individual parts from all over the world to be assembled here in order to earn this title. But when we talk about 'Munk. Safety. Made in Germany', then I mean something completely different: a promise that extends from the product idea to the development, the material used and the processing quality to the sustainable service. These are products that are conscientiously considered in every detail for the application and permanently checked before they leave our factory. This is access equipment that can be relied on 100% even under the toughest operating conditions, such as in fire, rescue and disaster relief operations. And this quality standard characterises each of our 2,500 series products - no matter for which application or which industry they are created.
Is this permanently high quality standard justified in every case?
Munk: By all means. Especially in the field of access equipment, we are not only talking about added value such as optimal handling, maximum functionality and work efficiency - we are also talking about a very decisive point: work safety. If we look at current accident statistics in the workplace, it becomes clear that there can be zero compromise on safety when it comes to ladders, platforms and scaffolding in the working environment. This is of course true for work at great heights, but, and this is often underestimated, it is just as true for working heights of up to two metres. Nearly 10% of serious work accidents occur at this low height. Safer and more sophisticated products can prevent worse or even save lives in a moment of carelessness. That's why our developers are constantly working on innovative ideas and solutions to set new benchmarks worldwide with our products. And as I understand it, this can only be achieved through an extremely high in-house vertical range of manufacture. With well-trained in-house employees, an optimal modern machine park and processes in which every step in production meets the high standards we set for our products.
After 2021, which was such an exciting year for you, what are the major challenges for 2022?
Munk: Raw material shortages, supply bottlenecks and material tax surcharges will keep us on our toes just as much as the effects of the Corona pandemic. The war in Ukraine is also overshadowing the entire economy. For us, the start was very positive and I am very pleased that trade fairs are finally taking place again, such as Bus2Bus, Logimat, Interschutz, Eisenwarenmesse and in the autumn InnoTrans. These are just a few of the most important ones. One thing is certain: We want to present ourselves live again as a technology and innovation leader and use the direct line to the industry experts. Because that is the decisive factor: Personal contact from person to person is the be-all and end-all - regardless of whether it's customer service from our field or office staff. We are always there for our customers personally. That is also what the name Munk stands for. In the coming months, we will of course also be very busy with the further development of digitalisation in the company. This is an ongoing process, we are constantly busy in all company and business areas to expand and optimise our digital services. However, we only ever see this as a supplement to our "person-to-person" advice and support.
About the MUNK Group
With its business units MUNK Günzburger Steigtechnik, MUNK Rettungstechnik, MUNK Profiltechnik and MUNK Service, the MUNK Group is one of the leading suppliers of access solutions and rescue equipment and corresponding service solutions. As a technology and innovation leader in access solutions, the name Munk stands for safety made in Germany. The company is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Munk family. With the reorganisation under the umbrella of the MUNK Group, the former Günzburger Steigtechnik GmbH has given itself an even more clearly differentiated company structure to ensure its future and is making it clear with its name that the company will remain in family hands. Under the motto: One family. One name. One mission.
In the MUNK Günzburger Steigtechnik business unit for access solutions, the MUNK Group carries over 2,500 products in its standard range, from ladders for commercial, public and private use to mobile scaffolding, platforms, stairs and bridging steps to custom-made special constructions. These include, for example, work and maintenance platforms, docking systems, walkways and assembly platforms, which, in the era of digitalisation, can also be automatically adapted to the respective environment using the latest control technology.
In the MUNK Rettungstechnik business unit for rescue equipment, the company offers access solutions and transport logistics for fire, rescue and disaster relief operations. These include, for example, multi-functional ladders, scaling and push-up extension ladders, rescue platforms, toolboxes, station equipment and a wide range of mobile containers. In the MUNK Service business unit, the MUNK Group bundles the areas of installation, testing, repair and maintenance of access solutions and rescue equipment, as well as seminars.
The youngest business division, MUNK Profiltechnik, offers high-quality technology for individual and professional configurations with a functional and sophisticated profile system.
The MUNK Group is always drawing attention to itself with new ideas that offer customers real added value in practice. It has already received several awards for its innovations, its economic development, its responsible and sustainable actions and as a family-friendly employer – most recently from the Oskar Patzelt Foundation as one of the three most impressive companies in the German SME sector. The company is also one of the top 100 innovators in the SME sector in 2021.
The MUNK Group manufactures exclusively in its home region of Günzburg. It was also the first provider ever to be audited by TÜV Nord in 2010 with the certified proof of origin “Made in Germany” and grants a guarantee of 15 years on all standard made in Germany products. The MUNK Group employs around 400 people at its headquarters in Günzburg and Leipheim and is currently investing around 20 million euros in its sites.