From Herbert Bühler to Bühler Technologies
50 years forward with heart and mind
1969 – three people on the moon demonstrate unlimited progress to the world, 500,000 at Woodstock exemplify excessive freethinking, and massive nuclear weapons tests show the world just how shaky it is. During this tumultuous time, designer and mechanical engineer Herbert Bühler and electrical engineer Friedrich von Ameln are magically drawn to an entirely different event – their idea to start a company with great market potential.
BÜHLER + CO – Quality & commitment quickly draw attention
Bühler and von Ameln have secure jobs and they are anything but dreamers. Yet they’re even more convinced by their idea.
It’s all too obvious the industrial sector operating systems is lacking 2 things, which in and of their own are commonly used but actually go hand in hand: On the one hand the use of high quality industrial filters, coolers, as well as level switches and water alarms for hydraulic systems. On the other hand, far-sighted consultation and service from competent engineers and technicians which are dedicated to helping with installation, monitoring and maintenance. "Combining the two is a concept which makes sense" the two are convinced – and made no mistake.
Although Bühler and Ameln must admit the economy in the late 60s isn’t as promising as it was during the height of the economic miracle. And yet, in addition to all of their available capital they also muster all their courage and in 1969 establish the company Bühler & Co. in Ratingen.
It’s quickly seen just how convincing the two personalities and their concept was for industry experts.
Soon, BÜHLER + CO are the exclusive dealers for leading domestic and international brands. Such as Purolator Industriefilter, Behr Industriekühler and Bell Verschraubungen. Their first customers such as SMS Hilfchenbach and Siempelkamp quickly learn to trust in the unparalleled product, consultation and service quality. Notable clients such as BASF, Merk or even Bayer Leverkusen are quick to follow, causing rapid growth.
Just the next year, 1970, the company’s success was reason enough to establish Servomex Gasanalysentechnik. Less than two years later, the promising development requires opening a branch plant in Engen, on Lake Constance. Not even a decade passes when the two successful founders combine the two divisions "Gas Analysis" and "Fluidcontrol" in 1976, continuing as Bühler Mess- und Regeltechnik GmbH & Co.KG. For Herbert Bühler this was reason enough to breathe and fully focus on further progress – he couldn’t have suspected he was rushing toward a new touchstone.
Dark clouds abruptly halt the growth idyll
Despite the best development and outlook, in the early 80s Herbert Bühler suddenly saw himself put to the test when his partner decided to withdraw from the company. This brought drastic restructuring and even changing locations – and a wave of uneasiness among the founder just as employees.
But wavering and giving up hope isn’t in Herbert Bühler’s nature. After carefully considering the business concept and after returning to the values from back when the company was founded, the entrepreneur takes over all business shares. He further builds a new 2,400 square metre head office on Harkortstraße in Ratingen and later even closes the factory in Engen, which had meanwhile been expanded.
It’s in the nature of things that not all employees will welcome the many changes. Some even speculate that Herbert Bühler’s actions will fail, an attitude which rubs off on others. But they would all be wrong. His foresight, his firm belief he was doing the right thing, and his integrity in working with others rapidly put the young company on the right track. In fact, they even strengthen it. Once again, it’s proven true:
Sometimes, in order to make great strides, you have to take a small step back or even sideways.
How does a company make healthy growth toward a big future?
In the late 80er and early 90s the turbulences after the partner left the company are already history. The overall concept steadily continues to grow. The business is growing soundly and highly dynamically. In addition, simultaneously being active in two market segments which are so fundamentally different such as hydraulics & lubrication technology and gas analysis would prove to be a consistent solution for various crises.
Why only stand for top quality if you can produce it yourself and even improve it?
Why not operate on an international level if your satisfied customers are virtually asking you to?
Thoughts put into action: During the early nineties the company was restructured, from primarily retail to developing and producing a proprietary product lines for gas analysis and fluid control. Turning the industry upside down.
The goal is high, but the path has been laid perfectly. Herbert Bühler is feeling at ease, thinking Gerd Biller will handle this "new page" quite well. They both proceed. Employees, customers and partners by their side, with conviction and enthusiasm.
But being and remaining successful are two different things
For Gerd Biller there’s no question: Maintaining top level quality and progress at this rate of growth is far more important than a functional product and service model and a beneficial starting situation. Once again it becomes clear the answer to the main future issues, as trivial as it is challenging:
Success is a product of people
The outstanding quality and the high standards can only be strengthened if the company draws and educates people who in addition to professional skills also share the values the successful Ratingers have been living out since the company was founded.
The drive for progress and top quality. A dedication to technology, customers and training. Engineering spirit being down to earth and philanthropy.
Biller, Pospiech and Eschweiler have been systematising passing on know-how and continuing education for over two decades. They promote family-friendly standards and a parallel "study & training" programme. They perfect the product range, comply with worldwide certification standards and create increasingly customised solutions for customers. Building on this foundation, the second and the third management generation is convinced their father of success would have had every reason to be proud of the continuing progress.
Herbert Bühler goes, "Bühler" keeps going
With his death in 1995, Herbert Bühler is no longer granted the opportunity to see the continued success of his efforts. But Gerd Biller consistently aligns the standards, always in line with the future strategy. The same also goes – beyond renaming the company to Bühler Technologies GmbH in 2006 – for the current pair of managing directors, the engineers Frank Pospiech and Stefan Eschweiler. They have now also been steering the company true to the strategy and very successfully for over 10 years.
Proud, the GmbH is making industry history on a worldwide level and that 150 employees now produce the highest possible degree of innovation with minimal turnover.
Proud, that globalisation not only wouldn’t be a problem, but rather a stepping stone to becoming the worldwide market leader with branches on 3 continents.
Proud, that Bühler Technologies GmbH grew its leading role worldwide and uses challenges such as digital transformation and Industry 4.0 as an opportunity to further secure the future just as solidly as globalisation before.