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TITANS OF INDUSTRY


“We are purely focused on warewashing. I don’t want to sell a dishwasher to a customer, I want to sell them a clean glass for many years”


“Nobody is successful alone.” His grandson tells me a story from his childhood. “My Granddad had a house at the lake. And when I was six or seven, I would help him make a fi re by collecting the wood. I said, ‘Granddad, I’m so impressed with what you have done with your company, how did you do it?’ And he replied, ‘It’s very simple. It’s the same as making a fi re. You need to put a lot of effort in to start it and keep the fl ames burning. Never take for granted that the fl ames are burning. You need to keep shovelling wood on the fi re.’ It’s exactly the same for the company. Never take success for granted. You need to work on it. I learned that very early on.” Along with a dedication to shared success and a commitment to hard work I ask what other personality traits he has inherited from Karl and Jürgen. “A passion for what I do comes from both of them,” he says. “I think I have my dad’s ability to stay calm in critical situations and I have my granddad’s sense of humour. I think that’s also a reason why I love the UK, because they have a special, dark sense of humour and I love that.” Winterhalter is one of the last family- owned operations of any signifi cant size in the industry. “We are independent,” says Winterhalter. “We do not report to any headquarters or banks. We have a long-term view. We don’t need to boost operating profi t in 2015 because we want


to sell the company. We are more focused on still being successful in 10 years. We have a principle that continues from day one, we only invest the money we earn.” Another thing that separates


Winterhalter from its competitors is it is a genuinely specialist manufacturer. “We are purely focused on warewashing. Not only on the machines, but on the results too. I don’t want to sell a dishwasher to a customer, I want to sell them a clean glass for many years,” says Winterhalter. “For that you not only need the proper machine, but also the right basket, the right water treatment, the right consultancy and the right detergent. And because we are specialists, we not only have a deep product understanding, but also a deep knowledge of our markets.” This means Winterhalter is well placed to react quickly if market circumstances are changing. “For example, in 2006 we realised that a major trend in the future would be energy and resource savings,” he says. “Within a short period of time we’d adapted our machines. We were the fi rst in the industry who could provide those energy features as standard for the whole machine range, not as an extra. We are lean and not hierarchical.That means we can respond almost


immediately if we see a trend coming up.” It’s clear that, because of the focus that


Winterhalter has in one specialist area, it is unlikely to change its tack and begin making products for other areas in the kitchen. “There is the temptation,” says Winterhalter. “But if we made cookers, we would start from scratch and be a ‘me too’ company. We would need an enormous amount of resource and money for that.”


A life’s work Similarly, there is no temptation to publicly list the company in an attempt to relieve some of the ownership burden on the family. “To be honest, never,” says Winterhalter. “There is a lot of pressure on me, but I don’t know it any other way. I was born just around the corner from here and the whole company was my playground.There is a strong emotional link to the company. I have always wanted to show my granddad and my father that the whole story goes on. “So that’s my motivation. I


The GS 60, Winterhalter’s fi rst commercial dishwashing machine


am often asked, why do you do this? And I say, because I really want to. There is that Winterhalter passion within me.” Earlier in the day, as we had surveyed the activity across the immaculate production


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