Recognition and identification
The keynote speakers in Lengerich's Gempt-Halle included state secretary Christoph Dammermann from the Düsseldorf Ministry for Economic Affairs and district administrator Dr. Klaus Effing. In his laudatory speech, he emphasised the importance of the long-standing, Lengerich-based company to the region as an employer, trainer and stimulus.
What does it mean to Bischof + Klein to be a family-owned company? This was the topic dealt with in the speech by Rüdiger Klein, great-grandson of the company's founder, Alwin Klein, and a representative of the family shareholders. In 2007, Alwin Klein's descendants bucked the prevailing trend and set an example for family-owned companies by buying back the externally held 40 percent stake. "Family-owned company: for us, the shareholder family, that is like a compass that clearly indicates our value orientation with the core elements of growth, accessing international markets and sustainable management."
According to Rüdiger Klein, B+K is aiming to achieve corporate growth of five percent per annum over the coming years. "Our investment plan provides for approximately 250 million euros over the next five years. Capacities are to be further extended, productivity increased and our market position expanded with these funds." This will only succeed with motivated and well trained employees. "We are placing the emphasis on recognition and identification. These are values that we family shareholders exemplify and which we support under all circumstances."
With a total of around 2,600 employees, the B+K-GROUP (annual sales 2016: 562 million euros) produces flexible plastic and plastic laminate packaging and technical films at five production plants in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Poland. The fourth and fifth generations of company founder Alwin Klein's descendants are controlling the fate of the company as shareholders and members of the supervisory board. Rüdiger Klein: "The fifth generation of shareholders will shoulder this responsibility. There will still be three branches with a total of 17 family shareholders. Each and every one of us is clearly committed to the company."
Together with Hermann Bischof, Alwin Klein founded "Papierfabrik und Prägeanstalt Bischof & Klein" in 1892. The company began manufacturing paper sacks in 1922. 1950 saw an increase in the production of small-sized packaging for consumer goods. At the beginning of the 60s, B+K was one of the pioneers of plastic processing. In the 1980s, the company pushed forwards the production of flexible plastic consumer packaging and entered the technical films market. Today, industrial packaging from B+K is used world-wide. The company's customers include major industrial corporations from the construction to the foodstuffs industries. Increasing demand for high-purity packaging is being met by the CleanFlex® product line from the separate clean room production facility. In the consumer sector, B+K offers highly converted products for well-known brand manufacturers in diverse industries. Focus in the Technical Films division is placed on the production of surface protection films, technical laminates and films for lamination.
In a round of talks, the three members of the executive board, Manfred Albrecht, Dr. Volker Pfennig and Gerd Sundermann, discussed the reasons for Bischof + Klein's unusually long and successful history. They all agreed that one significant aspect is the company's sustainability policy. With its three pillars of economy, ecology and social affairs, the sustainability concept encompasses all of the company's procedures, processes and strategies. This also pertains to its innovativeness, the prerequisite for the company's future success. Nowadays, having all of the production processes required to manufacture films and packaging under one roof, as is the case at B+K Lengerich, is an exception within the industry. Customers can also continue to look to Bischof + Klein for innovations in the future. "And we will almost certainly continue to work intensively on the topic of sustainability and remain the pioneer. With 125 years of history behind us, this is our promise for the future", stated Dr. Volker Pfennig to conclude the talks.
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