In the article “A network for the future” Cornelia and Philipp Horsch describe the new internal structure at HORSCH. Hubertus Bultmann, the Unit leader R & D tells terraHORSCH what it looks like quite practically in the product sectors and more concretely in the Product Units (PU).
terraHORSCH: Mister Bultmann, what were the strategical thoughts with regard to the introduction of Product Units?
Hubertus Bultmann: Due to the international growth of the company we noticed that there was the need for a change. As the product range was extended enormously, the information flood increased, too. More and more people work on more and more tasks at the same time. The international R & D and production sites add to this complexity.
This was the situation at the beginning of last year. Our objective: We want to become sustainable with regard to structure and organisation and at the same time we want to strengthen the roots of the company with all its characteristics.
terraHORSCH: What are these characteristics?
Hubertus Bultmann: One of these characteristics for example is that we quite frequently and often very spontaneously try things out – like a start-up: build test carriers, go out into the field and test the new idea. If something does not work, we improve it and then test it in the field again.
This is how we create innovative solutions which later, when included in a series machine, will meet the hard requirements of a practical use in the field. Such ideas often are triggered by the requirements of a customer.
terraHORSCH: How did you classify the Product Units?
Hubertus Bultmann: We subdivided our complete product range according to the largest product families. Our role model was the plant protection sector as in this sector for historical reasons we have always worked successfully in an own unit. We wanted to use these positive experiences for all the other product groups.
terraHORSCH: Which Product Units are there at HORSCH and where are they linked inside HORSCH?
Hubertus Bultmann: Now there are five Product Units in the HORSCH world: PU CropCare (plant protection with all Leeb sprayers), PU Seeding (sowing cereals with machines like the Pronto or the Avatar), PU Planting (single grain sowing technology with the whole Maestro family), PU Hybrid Farming (harrow Cura, hoe Transformer) as well as PU Tillage (tillage with products like Tiger, Terrano and Joker).
Basically, the organisational links did not change: Theo Leeb as the managing director heads the plant protection unit. I am responsible for the Product Units Tillage, Hybrid Farming, Seeding und Planting.
terraHORSCH: Grouping the responsibilities according to the product families is comprehensible – but what exactly is different than before?
Hubertus Bultmann: With this change we do not only consolidate all product topics in the five Units, we also gave them a very special role within the whole company. They are responsible for the respective product family beyond the limits of the mere development of a product. In everyday working life this means: The Product Unit plays an active role beyond the development and provides important impulses for other sectors of the company like purchasing, service and sales or the marketing.
terraHORSCH: Does this mean that a lot of measures and activities often are initiated by the product development?
Hubertus Bultmann: This is indeed the case. After an idea has become a product, we from R & D for example always try to support the successful marketing as far as the customer. In close co-operation with the other sectors of the company – this, of course, is the prerequisite – we thus try to achieve utmost customer satisfaction.
This way of working is very distinctive in our company and has been started by the founder family. Thus, it is a characteristic which has its source in the roots of the company and which we want to strengthen for the future with the introduction of the new Product Units.
terraHORSCH: Where does this customer focus become apparent?
Hubertus Bultmann: It is very evident in the leaders of the Product Units: Our structrues actually only defines the frame – but it only comes to life with the right people! This is why it was not easy to fill these positions. Our objective was to get experienced people who can cover a complex conflict area: understand the wishes and requirements of our customers all over the world as well as have the know-how to turn these into a product. To manage all this efficiently and in a target-oriented way, beside agricultural basics you mainly need construction experiences as well as know-how in the sectors purchasing, production and quality management.
terraHORSCH: Who are the people behind this new structure and what are the Units dealing with?
Hubertus Bultmann: Let’s start with Lucas Horsch. Cornelia and Michael Horsch’s eldest son heads the PU Planting. Due to the time he already spent in the company, but also due to the experiences gained by managing the HORSCH farm AgroVation Lucas provides a breath of fresh practical air in the team. The challenge in the single grain sector currently is: make the shooting technology (AirSpeed) and the vacuum technology (AirVac) available for the whole product portfolio.
In the PU Seeding Mathias Schneider has taken over the helm. Beside agricultural know-how Mathias has 10 years of experience at HORSCH. At the moment, Mathias’s focus is on further developing well-known products, but also on expanding the product portfolio – current example: the Versa.
In the PU Crop Care all topics are bundled by Florian Zink. Florian has been working in R & D plant protection at HORSCH LEEB for 14 years and currently deals with the mounted sprayer and the self-propelled sprayer projects all over the world. As I already mentioned, in the future, too, Florian will co-operate very closely with Theo Leeb.
Last but not least the PUs Hybrid Farming and Tillage: Both are headed by Daniel Halbmann. Daniel is an expert in mechanical engineering and has been working in the product management for quite some years. Moreover, he also has agricultural experience. The focus of the PU is: the next generation of mounted cultivators as well as additional equipment option for the harrow and the hoe.
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