Managing director Gerhard Lehner about “GIKO’s Austrian soul”:
“In all divisions, we exclusively employ a highly qualified and motivated specialists from our region who are able to satisfy our high standards. In addition, GIKO provides apprenticeship training to young people to develop them into qualified professionals. Moreover, our production processes must comply with the high environmental standards applicable in Austria.”
GIKO in Weiler has set all the lights at green. There is a spirit of optimism. In June 2015, Martin Giesinger, a member of the founding family has been appointed new operating manager. From 1990 until 2010, the 52 years old manager has already been in the frontline of the packaging specialist as head of sales and marketing in the area of “flexible packaging”. Together with Gerhard Lehner who has been appointed chairman of the executive board in spring 2015, the packaging expert and passionate family man plans to continue the successful way of the company established in 1956.
Mr. Giesinger, what are today’s challenges for a company like GIKO?
Martin Giesinger: “We must certainly endeavour – even more than in the past – to maintain our success. And we will achieve this goal on the one hand through investments in our plant – like we have already done with the purchase of a new laminating line that costs 1.5 million Euros – but on the other hand also through the implementation of an additional mainstay and the thus resulting opportunities to enter new markets – apart from mere packaging.”
What does that mean exactly?
Martin Giesinger: “Investments in new machinery and plants are extremely high and these new facilities will only be run profitably if they can be operated virtually “around the clock”. And to this aim we need to find new markets, apart from our classical packaging markets. Moreover: up to now we have worked around 90% for food industry. In the medium term, we aim to achieve a splitting: two thirds for food industry and one third for technical specialities and this is how we would like to reduce our high dependency on food industry. It was quite obvious to use our large technical knowhow in foil production for new applications also.”
Does that mean production of foils also for other purposes then food packaging ...?
Martin Giesinger: “Yes. Meanwhile we are developing high quality composite foils for customers in the automotive industry or in the area of complex decorative products. Demanding high quality composite foils may now be produced in one work cycle which – up to now – was impossible. Through this technique we are now an increasingly interesting partner for technical industries and this enables us to have a convincing presence in these markets too. But this investment into a new complex laminating line allows us also to better spread our capacities on our remaining production plant.”
What do you expect from the “Fachpack” fair that will be held at the end of September in Germany?
Martin Giesinger: “About 75% of our sales result from exportations with Germany that has a 50% share in our total sales volume. One quarter of our sales volume is realized in the core market of Austria. The remaining part is distributed between the strategically important Switzerland and the Benelux states. Consequently, the largest European fair for the packaging industry is a “must” for us. We will show there our new self-confidence: GIKO is the Austrian specialist in flexible packaging! Our new corporate claim also contains a simple yet clear message: Extraordinary? Quite normal for us!”
A very optimistic claim ...!
Martin Giesinger: “A realistic one! As a medium-sized company without a large “overhead”, with a small – as compared with the large competitors – yet very motivated team we are able to execute any order extremely fast and with the usual high Austrian quality. A 24 hours hotline, one contact person along all stages of production, products that comply with the strict Austrian environmental regulations and that are manufactured by specialists trained by us and last but not least: our central location: this is what distinguishes GIKO and that is what we want to communicate – also with a new company appearance.”
Last year, the paper processing parts of GIKO were separated from the foil production ...
Martin Giesinger: “The development and production of high quality foils is the most demanding part of packaging industry and offers the opportunity to enter new markets. This has always been one of the company’s strengths. GIKO can now fully concentrate on the fields of “flexible packaging” and we can now focus on our strengths – technological knowhow, solution-oriented team working and longstanding experience. Consequently, this separation was absolutely correct from a strategic point of view. The feedback by our customers to this decision was absolutely positive.”
What are the goals that you want to achieve with GIKO?
Martin Giesinger: “Based on a stable sales development, we aim at a long-term growth in the field of demanding high quality composite foils and – related thereto – in the field of technical specialities. Especially in markets that are new to us. I am very confident that we will really achieve this.”