in Vol. 24 - September Issue - Year 2023
Generational Change in the Management of OTEC Präzisionsfinish GmbH: Nico Gegenheimer Discusses His Values and the Company's Future Direction
Nico Gegenheimer, Managing Director at OTEC
From a start-up in the mechanical engineering industry specializing in polishing machines for the jewelry and watch industry, OTEC has evolved into a global technology leader for mass finishing and electro finishing systems. Customers from various industries, such as jewelry and watchmaking, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, automotive, aerospace, tooling, and additive manufacturing, rely on the company's decades of expertise and innovative strength. At OTEC, the focus is always on finding the perfect solution to meet customer needs, with machine development being the primary focus. Customers can choose from a wide range of reliable solutions, ranging from small and compact table machines to fully automated mass production systems.
(?) MFN: Mr. Gegenheimer, how does it feel to follow your father's footsteps and continue to lead the company he founded?
(!) N. G.: It is both an immense challenge and a great honor for me to continue my father's legacy and lead our employees at OTEC. My father transformed OTEC from a garage company into a significant enterprise. My goal is to continue this success story, if not surpass it. The footsteps are large, but I am proud of the influence I have already had in the areas of digitization and process development over the past years.
(?) MFN: Did you always have a clear plan to take over the management, and how did you prepare for it?
(!) N. G.: My entry into OTEC began as a cleaner to supplement my pocket money. This early experience created a strong connection to OTEC, and I was able to witness the development of the production processes over an extended period. During my studies, the plan to take over the company within five years started to take shape. My studies in industrial engineering contributed to this plan. The 5-year plan began with my official full-time entry, during which I accompanied and led various departments. This allowed me to get to know the processes and products and exert my initial influence on them.
(?) MFN: What valuable lessons have you learned from your father?
(!) N. G.: My father always teaches me to approach things with a clear mind and avoid hasty decisions. I particularly appreciate this aspect and see him as a great role model in terms of respectful interaction with our employees. He emphasizes the importance of learning from them and involving their expertise in decision-making processes. Despite OTEC's success, he remains authentic and does not get lost in facades, which I also greatly appreciate about him.
OTEC and my father also stand for flat hierarchies and short decision-making paths. Lastly, he always encourages me not to be afraid of challenges and to embrace making mistakes, as they provide us with opportunities to learn and continuously improve. Having respect for others and maintaining open and transparent communication is the key to success at all levels. Only those who remain open can experience new things.
(?) MFN: Can you tell us about past successes and how innovation is ingrained as a tradition in your company?
(!) N. G.: We have achieved great successes by constantly questioning, improving, and reinventing existing processes. Since the founding of OTEC, this has been an essential part of our philosophy. My father reinvented the Disc Finishing Process, but many other innovations have emerged through collaboration with our employees.
We have a large development department dedicated exclusively to improvements and new developments, which is rather unusual for a company of our size.
Finally, from my perspective, it is our corporate culture that tremendously supports us in being open to change and driving it forward appropriately.
(?) MFN: What's new at OTEC currently? Which innovations are you particularly proud of?
(!) N. G.: I am particularly proud of the diversity in our team of employees. We have long-serving employees celebrating their 25th anniversary alongside talented newcomers who bring valuable experiences and great ideas. The good working atmosphere and high commitment of our staff fill me with joy.
In terms of our products, the electro finishing process is a perfect addition to our portfolio. I am excited about the many new and fantastic products in this field. Especially for our existing customers who aim to achieve the optimum in their processes, the Electro Finishing series offers exciting possibilities to further push the boundaries of conventional vibratory finishing.
(?) MFN: How do you currently observe the interest in the Electro Finishing process? Is Electro Finishing experiencing growing demand while vibratory finishing takes a back seat?
(!) N. G.: In reality, the key lies in the perfect combination of both processes. While the mass finishing has its limitations when it comes to complex and intricate geometries, the electro finishing complements our mass finishing portfolio ideally. Therefore, as mentioned before, this is particularly exciting for our existing customers. Achieving maximum brilliance, even in the smallest corners of work pieces with various geometries, is possible, all from a single source. This sets new standards for many industries.
However, the mass finishing is what has made OTEC successful and accounts for a significant portion of our revenue. We will continue to develop and drive new products in this field. So, we see both product series as perfect complements, working hand in hand for our company's future.
(?) MFN: In your view, what is the key to the success of OTEC Präzisionsfinish GmbH?
(!) N. G.: The keywords for OTEC's success are stability, quality, expertise, reliability, and trust. From my perspective, the key to our success lies in the broad range of expertise in all areas and our global network of over 80 distribution partners. These factors enable us to offer our long-standing customers high-quality solutions and gain their trust.
Furthermore, at OTEC, we have always embraced the market challenges and adjusted our products accordingly. We actively seek new application possibilities and continuously develop our products to meet market demands. This flexibility and adaptability are another key to our success.
(?) MFN: How do you plan to further develop the company, and what personal goals have you set for the future?
(!) N. G.: It is of particular importance to me to smoothly continue the generational change in management without any loss of quality. We will continue to strive to be the leading and reliable expert for precision surface finishing in both mass finishing and electro finishing for our customers, positioning ourselves in the market. I see significant developments in the areas of digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence in concrete applications.
We invest a lot in the development and well-being of our employees, offering them top-notch facilities such as a first-class cafeteria, a lounge area including a sauna, free beverages, training opportunities, summer festivals for the whole family, and much more. In this way, we aim to be perceived as an attractive employer in the region, both within and outside our company.
(?) MFN: Lastly, is there a message you would like to convey to your employees, customers, and partners?
(!) N. G.: I would like to personally thank everyone for their trust in OTEC. Behind OTEC, there is a strong and motivated team committed to our continuous innovation and quality in the field of mass finishing and electro finishing.
We are passionately dedicated to creating perfect surfaces worldwide through innovative machine technology "Made in Germany" and practical solutions. We are committed to ensuring that our customers benefit from our products and services and that their individual requirements are met.
I would also like to thank all employees for the trust and support I have received and continue to receive over the years. Without such an amazing and helpful team, it would have been much more challenging for me to make the decision to take over the role of managing director at such an early stage. I truly appreciate having such a strong support system and knowing that I have colleagues by my side to provide guidance and assistance in times of challenges and difficult decisions. I sincerely appreciate it!
MFN would like to thank Nico Gegenheimer for this interview!
OTEC Präzisionsfinish GmbH
Tel. +49.70.82 - 49 11 20
Fax +49.70.82 - 49 11 29