On Friday night, Memmert managing director Christiane Riefler-Karpa welcomed the guests - some of whom came from far away - to the celebration in light of the 80-year anniversary of the company. It was also the perfect moment to commemorate the late senior managing director Grete Memmert Riefler. Christiane Riefler-Karpa emphasised how happy her mother would have been to see so many of her former business partners and that all those who knew her would be keeping her in their memory as a strong and very enthusiastic woman.
The managing director also reminded the guests of her grandfather Willi Memmert’s courage when he started the company 80 years ago. He also showed that he was a man of vision when early on he invested in cost-effective mass production which opened worldwide markets for Memmert. Christiane Riefler-Karpa did not forget to mention the challenge her parents had to face from the 70s onwards, when they had to manage a growing family business as well as their own growing family. She finished her review of 80 years of Memmert with an outlook. Today, even relatively small companies have to act as global players in order to fulfil their customer's diverse demands. Memmert is facing their challenges enthusiastically and will also set trends in the future with innovative products and in manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Aside from inspiring discussions, fun and the exchange of memories, the guests had to face a challenge of their own later that night. At the “Memmert Challenge” on the production floor, international teams assembled one heating oven each and did not only prove their technical skill but also showed the unique Memmert team spirit.
After a short night, a contrasting programme followed on Saturday. For the first time, Memmert had invited different speakers to a symposium. With intent, the focus was not on products but the trends regarding markets, marketing and management. The first speaker was Clement Mu, General Manager at Memmert (Shanghai) Trading Ltd. He reported on the development the Chinese Memmert subsidiary has been making since its opening in 2011. He also introduced key clients and dedicated a large part of his speech to strategic orientation, the central parts of which are the main components for merchant compliance programmes and the targeted expansion of the customer base.
The second speaker of the day was Carmen van Waeyenberghe, managing director of the Belgian specialist laboratory supplier Voor’t Labo. With humour and wit, she led the audience into tomorrow’s world of marketing. In order to win a critical client who can access the web and social media for information and exchange about products, it takes more than a classical distribution and trade discounts. The managing director who is admittedly obsessed with maintaining good client relationships recommended putting the focus on customer loyalty and illustrated her request with examples from her everyday working life. In order to bring the client as brand ambassador to talk about one‘s brand and recommend it, a closer relationship to the client and the brand is a crucial intermediate target. When she showed a Memmert tattoo on her upper arm and asked the audience to become Memmert ambassador as well, the spark was lit. After the coffee break, the Memmert heart shone on numerous hands, arms and cheeks.
Visibly inspired, Dennis Tan, Business Development director at the ITS Group, stepped up to the microphone. ITS provides clients all over Asia with holistic solutions for their scientific work from their headquarters in Singapore and from seven national subsidiaries. Dennis Tan also put the focus of his speech on customer relationships. With regard to Memmert appliances, especially customer-specific developments and industrial applications offer outstanding growth possibilities on a booming South East Asian market. Tan explained that ITS was standing out from the competition with comprehensive turnkey solutions. The client gets everything from one provider, from building and laboratory planning to consumable supplies. Aside from classical marketing strategies, such as mailings, training and trade show presentations, this kind of solution orientation is contributing significantly to trusting and long-term customer relationships.
With his speech, Professor Arnold Weissman from Weissman & Cie. was the next highlight. The very German phenomenon of successful family companies was the basis of his speech that included 20 rules for mastering the “Challenge 2020”. Emphatically, the well-known management consultant guided the audience through topics such as “leadership versus management”, “strategy”, “employees” or “family management”. A successful company always provides an advantage to its clients in order to benefit from it afterwards, stands out from its competitors in order not to be overlooked, realises its strategies with endurance instead of haste and leads its employees by transferring responsibility. This and other theories led to an active exchange about different country-specific characteristics and framework conditions. Professor Weissman was given an enthusiastic farewell and everyone agreed that this speech from a European point of view would particularly inspire the daily work in distant countries such as Thailand, India, Nepal or the USA.
On Saturday in the late afternoon, the introduction into the next challenge began. Before the last day, filled with product presentations of ICP and ICH appliances of Generation 2012 and a factory tour, on Sunday, the next highlight in the programme awaited the guests: a visit to Challenge Roth, one of the largest and most famous triathlon events in the world. Hans Nilsson, triathlon coach and successful top athlete, introduced the triathlon sport and the running course. He chatted entertainingly about the typical triathlete and told the audience what they should be especially look forward to. Only a few guests were already acquainted with the spectacle and thus Hans Nilsson had to answer many questions. After a very successful day, host Katja Rosenke thanked the speakers and invited everyone to the beergarden for roast pork shoulder and other Franconian specialties.