85 years Dolezych – An interview with Udo & Tim Dolezych (Owner family of Dolezych Group)
You both took over the management of the company from your fathers. Was that a matter of course for you or did you originally plan something else?
Udo Dolezych: That was already clear during my school days. That’s why I studied business administration in order to be prepared for my future role in the company. If I had known at that time how much technology was connected with our products, I would have added a technical degree. I then learned this through practical experience. But I envy Tim a little for his engineer… (laughs)
Tim Dolezych: With me it was similar to my father. When I studied economics at the latest, it was clear to me that I too wanted to join the company.
In your opinion, what were the decisive milestones in Dolezych’s this year 85-year history?
Udo Dolezych: Certainly the introduction of textile products at the end of the 1970s, which made us a full-range supplier of lifting and lashing equipment – since the mid-1980s also including service offers such as testing service, maintenance and seminars. Another important step was the opening of our Polish branch in Katowice in 1992, which heralded the internationalization of Dolezych. Of course, it was always challenging and decisive to develop our company technically, for example by further developing IT or by converting to automated production processes.
What was the most exciting project at Dolezych that you were able to accompany?
Udo Dolezych: The company foundations in Poland, China and Chile That was an extremely interesting and exciting time in which I learned a lot.
Tim Dolezych: In addition to founding the company in the USA, I am particularly fascinated by the current projects related to digitization because I know that we are actively setting the course for our future here.
You have recently reformulated the company’s philosophy (see our website www.dolezych.de). How does the current version differ from the old one?
Tim Dolezych: We have been working hard recently to formulate our brand core and corporate identity. The newly formulated philosophy reflects both aspects much more precisely. In addition, in line with our mission and vision, it emphasizes that customer benefit is the focus of our daily activities – this focus was particularly important to us.
How does the characteristic “family business” express itself concretely in Dolezych’s case?
Udo Dolezych: The employees see that we as a family stand behind them and the company. The decision-making paths are short, our doors are always open and there is a lot of freedom to make decisions. All in all, things here are very personal – in contrast to a corporate group, where the individual tends to remain anonymous. This trust is returned to us by the employees, who in turn stand loyally behind the company.
Price competition on the market has become fiercer, especially in recent years. Even products of inferior quality are irritating the industry. At the end of 2018, for example, the Fachverband Seile und Anschlagmittel e. V. (Association of Ropes and Slings) discovered serious defects in lashing belts – even in belts with the GS mark. What strategies are you using to counter these developments?
Tim Dolezych: Yes, it is indeed a great challenge. Unfortunately, the low-priced products are often of inferior quality.
Udo Dolezych: In addition, fraudulent labelling sometimes leads to healthy apples being confused with rotten apples – to put it quite metaphorically. The poor quality is often not apparent to the customer because the products’ quality characteristics such as breaking strength, load-bearing capacity, abrasion resistance, etc. and thus their functional reliability are not apparent. They can only be determined with the help of complex tests and QA measures. We have to inform regularly about the effort we put into this and thus strengthen the confidence in our quality products.
Tim Dolezych: In addition, from our point of view it remains important to be an innovation driver – in other words, to do what companies with less technical expertise cannot do. To do this, we also need highly trained personnel to offer our customers the greatest possible benefit.
What other challenges await Dolezych in the coming years?
Udo Dolezych: I think the continuous task remains to manoeuvre the company through times of an unsettled global economy. The customs dispute between the USA and China or the corona virus are just two examples of current developments to which we must find the right answers for our business. Such challenges are unlikely to diminish in the coming years.
Tim Dolezych: I think it will also be about dealing with digital progress and creating new opportunities for us. We will all have to educate ourselves in completely new areas like AI. Intelligent products, for example for autonomous driving, offer exciting tasks. It will be important to approach any topic openly, solution-oriented and with energy.
As a complete supplier of lifting and load securing solutions, Dolezych has a very broad target group. Where do you see further potential and in which areas do you want to grow even more in the future?
Tim Dolezych: We would like to continue to strengthen the retail trade in the future, for example through innovations. And large industrial end users also need a high-quality production and consulting program. This is where we are in demand as a specialist to make the customer’s work safer and easier.
A nice closing. Thank you very much for your time!
You can follow the entire company history here.