You have been part of FUJI EUROPE CORPORATION since 1992 and are today Managing Director. In which position did you start back then?
At the time, I started at FUJI as a sales engineer for the sales region North Germany. In 1992, we were only eight employees, including two sales people for the German-speaking countries (DACH). I switched as an enthusiastic customer from FUJI to FUJI at that time and still live the enthusiasm today – 30 years later in a team that has increased more than ten times.
Would you have guessed then that you would still be working for the company almost 30 years later?
No, when I joined FUJI at the age of 33, I could not have foreseen that I would be standing here today. I had no concrete perspective in mind and was striving for enjoyment at work and success. I had the ambition then, as I do now, to perform the tasks assigned to me to the best of my ability. This ambition has never changed.
If you look at the market: What was different back then? What has changed until today?
In a working day without Internet, e-mail, smartphone and navigation system, the cycle rhythm was considerably lower than in a working environment permeated by digitalization, as we have today. Certainly, digitization has great advantages and also brings efficiency benefits, etc., but in the analog age, things were more communicative in part because a different form of exchange was required.
Overall, business back then was based more on trust and was more humane in that there was no need for long contracts, contractual penalties, NDA’s and calculations that had to be coherent after the third decimal place. Comparatively, the returns were higher.
And what has changed in the company since then?
Looking at our company, a small team of friends without a fixed organizational structure grew into a globally active successful company. The workforce and turnover have increased more than ten times. Today we have more than 90 employees. Short communication channels have turned into fast and effective communication, which has become even more digital since the Corona pandemic. And our organizational structure has evolved over the years into clear processes. We lived flat hierarchies then as we do now.
While we were under Japanese management for the first 20 years – and at this point I would like to praise the Japanese work culture “it is hard, intense, but fair” – we now operate under German management for 10 years.
What do you see as the recipe for success for FUJI, celebrating its 30th anniversary today?
There are many aspects that define the FUJI success story. These include continuous improvement processes – for example in terms of quality, effectiveness and precision. Here, we are living a very high standard since the very beginning. Also, the constant adaptation to current market needs and technological developments provides us today with stable and continuous growth as well as our strong market position. In addition, the above-average customer orientation and equality of all customers – regardless of size and sales – ensure extremely high customer satisfaction.
What fascinated you most about your work over the nearly 30 years?
My roots are in the field of technology, which has always fascinated me – and still does today as a managing director. In our industry, you always have your pulse on the latest developments. I’m impressed by being able to help shape new technological leaps. I’m also excited by the international nature of the global business model and working with my Japanese colleagues in a diverse and intercultural team.
What do you value most in the company?
On the one hand, our great products make me proud. On the other hand, I especially appreciate the FUJI team, in which all employees contribute to our success – not least through close and uncomplicated communication between all FUJI branches around the world and an appreciative way of dealing with each other. The corporate philosophy in terms of strong customer orientation is also special to me.