We are thinking in terms of generations

Managing Director, Christian Ruhland in an interview: „Innovative chemistry and conservative value orientation"

Stulln/Traun. (jrh) Christian Ruhland had a vision: He wants the apparent opposites to reconcile.  In his concept chemistry and environment, innovative technology and the principles of an honourable businessman are forming a fruitful symbiosis.  With his „Vision for Metals" he is leading the family-operated NABU Oberflächentechnik GmbH, in the heart of Europe, to the top of sustainable surface technology.

Mr. Ruhland, how did the family-operated business, which involves four proprietor families from your region,   emerge?

Ruhland:  With a management buy-out in 1993 from the division of the surface technology from the Vereinigten Aluminium Werke.  The VAW fluorspar mining had grown stronger at the time and they went back to their core business.

What makes your unique selling point in comparison to the larger competitors, who are partially managed by hedge funds, different.

Ruhland: We are thinking in terms of generations, our company is long-term orientated.  We do not have to take every order – the customer should remain satisfied with our company for a long time to come.  We are able to make our own decisions without the influence of external partnerships.

What are the main operational areas of your product?

Ruhland:  These include the coating of aluminium, iron and steel, the coil coating as well as the anodising in the industry sectors -  architecture, construction, contract coating, and automotive.

You are distributing Chemicals for the surface pre-treatment of metal.  What exactly makes your know-how the right mixture, how is your business in the national and international community, what is your USP?

Ruhland:  Besides having innovative chemicals it is very important to us that we have personal, professionally grounded customer support that our customers deserve when they buy our products. In Germany we are the forerunner in the chrome free technology in the field aluminium pre-treatment.  It has successfully proven itself since 1996 and is now a very sophisticated procedure.  Internationally our focus lies on Eastern Europe and China.

You have 30 employees, therefrom six technicians, two laboratory workers, three apprentices – with a respectable training quota of ten percent-, seven staff members in the production and a further three staff members in the sales office with it own laboratory in Austria.  How would you describe the workers core competency?

Ruhland:  Flexible, they have a close relationship with the customer and satisfying his needs, a broad spectrum of knowledge in the area of pre-treatment from metal surfaces, the closeness to our products:  All the markets prime requirements flow into the development – and an above average commitment is expected of our workers that the customers are optimally served.

You want to reconcile chemistry and environment – how can you succeed in that?

Ruhland:  In the course of REACH more and more of the toxic chemicals are being prohibited.  We took on the challenges of this subject fairly early and opted for a non-toxic product development, renewable raw materials, that in which is marketed under the name Greenline.

The service orientation has become a must, but where exactly do you see your strong points?

Ruhland:  With a friendly, competent and committed staff.  We want to give the customer an overall solution  that keeps them more than satisfied and that long term.

You do not want to give any promises that you cannot keep – you are working towards and that more aggressively for honesty in advertisement.  Is that acknowledged?

Ruhland:  Yes we have many loyal customers that have appreciated our service for several years now. Providing competent technical knowledge paired up with honesty has paid of in the long run.  We tell our customers what works and what does not work with our chemicals.